Calif. woman missing after Rainbow event

Public asked to help find her

By John Branton, Columbian Staff Reporter

Published:

 
photoMarie C. Hanson

The family of a woman who went missing after attending the Rainbow Family Gathering in Skamania County is worried because it’s unlike her not to call them.

Marie Colello Hanson, 54, left her home in South Lake Tahoe, Calif., to attend the gathering — which drew many thousands of others — in remote Skookum Meadows in Gifford Pinchot National Forest.

After several days of investigation, the Skamania County Sheriff’s Office released a bulletin Thursday evening seeking the public’s help in finding Hanson.

She was last seen Sunday and had lost touch with the people with whom she traveled to the festival. They left without her, and her family members haven’t been able to reach her by phone.

Law-enforcement officers with the sheriff’s office and U.S. Forest Service have spent several days speaking with others who attended the gathering, taking statements and passing out fliers with her photo, the bulletin said.

Some witnesses said they saw Hanson hitchhiking out of the area with an older man who goes by the nickname Owl and may be from Key West, Fla. His real name is not known.

Owl is white, about 6 feet, 1 inch tall and thin, with gray hair, the bulletin said.

Hanson is white and weighs about 125 pounds. Her hair and eyes are brown, according to a website, http://mariehansonmissing.com, set up by her family.

Michael Hanson, 31, her son, said that before the festival she was in daily contact with her husband, Bill Hanson, at their home.

“I call home once a week, at least, or she’ll call me,” he said.

“She’s a very friendly lady,” said the son, who said he’d been moving to Maryland but now is in California searching for her.

“She likes talking to people and she likes her neighbors,” he added. “She’s a churchgoing lady. She tries to see the best in people.”

He said he'd never known his mom to attend anything like the Rainbow Gathering and doesn't know Owl.

Oddly, he said, she traveled to the festival with a neighbor, who returned home without her, but with her ID, back-injury medicine and purse.

Anyone with information in the case is asked to call the sheriff’s office in Stevenson at 509-427-9490.

Skamania County Sheriff’s Detective Tim Garrity is working the case in conjunction with police in South Lake Tahoe.

South Tahoe police can be reached at 530-542-6110.

John Branton: 360-735-4513 or john.branton@columbian.com.