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'Missing' Sandy woman located in Florida, had broken phone

By Pat Reavy | Posted - Dec. 6, 2011 at 1:48 p.m.

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SANDY — A missing Sandy woman and her son were found safe Tuesday, and police say the two didn't even know they were missing.

Suzanne Ribas, 48, and her 13-year-old son, James, and their pet poodle left Dec. 1 to drive to their new home in Florida. About 5 p.m., Ribas was driving through Spanish Fork Canyon while talking to her daughter in Florida on her cell phone, when the phone suddenly disconnected.

Ribas' daughter tried calling her mother back several times, but no one ever picked up. Because her mother had suffered from blackouts in the past, the daughter notified police and told them she was worried her mother may have crashed.

Law enforcers, with assistance from the Utah Department of Public Safety helicopter, spent a day searching the canyon but found no evidence of a crash. Investigators also tried finding Ribas by "pinging" her cell phone, but the phone was turned off.

Just after noon on Tuesday, Ribas arrived in Florida, about a day later than she was expected to arrive, and called her daughter. Her daughter told her about the search effort, but Ribas said she had no idea people were looking for her, said Sandy Police Sgt. John Arnold.

"The mom explained her phone had fallen off into the dog's water dish and made the phone unusable. She continued driving ... and bought a new phone in Florida," Arnold said.

Investigators were expected to get bank records back on Tuesday to find out if Ribas' credit cards had been used since she disappeared. But Arnold said the mother ended up calling before the results were back.

Detectives said there was no evidence of anything illegal or inappropriate and the case is considered closed.

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