MAHWAH, N.J. – Mahwah police rescued a suicidal 52-year-old woman who’d taken 50 sleeping pills from a cliff after an hours-long search in below-freezing temperatures before dawn Tuesday.
Officers from the NYPD’s 52 Precinct in the Bronx notified their Mahwah counterparts that the woman was on the Carmel Retreat property off Route 202, where family members found her car parked next to the woods by the main entrance, Police Chief James Batelli told Daily Voice.
Loved ones had reported her missing “after receiving concerning text messages from her indicating she was going to end her life and saying goodbye to her family,” he said.
They found her car using On Star, the chief added.
K-9 Officer Robert Rapp and Remco joined several officers at the steep, wooded hill, where they also used night vision goggles, Batelli said.
In her car they found a recently purchased – and empty – box of sleeping pills and an empty package that contained an x-acto knife, he said.
“Attempts to ping the phone were unsuccessful because of poor cell coverage,” the chief added added.
Loved ones grew concerned as the search reached six hours.
A New Jersey State Police helicopter was summoned, along with the state Search and Rescue team and an additional K-9 unit from the Bergen County Sheriff’s Office.
Sgt. Michael Blondin deployed all of the officers, and after Officer David Sinisi eventually found the woman on a steep hillside overlooking the complex, Batelli said.
“She was breathing but unconscious,” he said.
Officers carried her to a police car to keep her warm until an ambulance arrived.
Paramedics from the Valley Hospital took her there in serious but stable condition.
“It was determined that she ingested an entire bottle of pills,” the chief said, adding that the knife was by her side.
“Given the weather conditions and the amount of medication she ingested, it is unlikely she would have survived much longer,” he said, in commending his officers.