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Man Dead, Woman Survives After Couple Stranded For Days In Sierra

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(L-R) Paula Lane, Roderick Clifton (CBS)

(L-R) Paula Lane, Roderick Clifton (CBS)

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CITRUS HEIGHTS (CBS SF) – A Sacramento area couple lost in the Sierra for nearly a week has been found with the man dead and his girlfriend suffering from frostbite, according to authorities.

The two were found Wednesday near Highways 88 and 89.

Ground crews spent the day searching Highway 50 on the way to South Lake Tahoe, with 10 to 15 people searching from 10 a.m. until dusk.

Paula Lane, 46, was found walking in the snow and was rushed to Carson Tahoe Regional Medical Center. She was reported to be in stable condition with mild frostbite.

The Alpine County Sheriff’s Department said 44-year-old Roderick Clifton was found dead.

The couple, dating since summer, hadn’t been seen since leaving Citrus Heights on Thursday on the way to Lane’s home in Gardnerville, Nev.

Family and friends last saw the couple at a Citrus Heights 7-Eleven filling up their tank. They were on the road right before a storm hit. The couple usually travels on Highway 50 on the way to Nevada.

Reportedly, the couple’s vehicle became stuck in the snow while driving on Burnside Road near Highways 88 and 89.

Initial reports state that Clifton left the car to search for help but never returned. Eventually Lane left the car as well to seek help. She was then located by a family member while walking on the highway.

“He probably saw some cool spot where he could see the river or something cool like that. He said ‘I’m going to go over there and test out my four-wheel drive.’ They probably just got stuck and then that storm that came through probably really got them struck,” explained Clifton’s daughter Mariah. “He was so far off trail from where everybody was looking, where the search crews were looking, they were so far away from that, without Paula’s brother who found them, there’s no way they would have been found anytime soon.”

Police believe the couple slept inside their vehicle for at least one day.

Due to their location in the mountains, the couple did not have any cell phone reception.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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