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Missing woman found near dam
barker ann

A 66-year-old Forsyth County woman who had been missing for a week was found safe Tuesday afternoon in Gwinnett County, authorities said.

A park ranger at Buford Dam Park spotted Ann Marie Barker about 3 p.m., said Karleen Chalker with the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office.

“She was able to provide us with her name and date of birth,” Chalker said. “But she was somewhat disoriented, so we’ve still got a lot of questions as to what has occurred.”

Barker had no noticeable injuries, Chalker said, but her family requested she undergo a medical evaluation.

Forsyth County Sheriff Ted Paxton said the park ranger told authorities Barker was wearing a garbage bag when he found her.

“I suspect there’s a good possibility that the reason she was wearing a garbage bag is she was washing her clothes,” Paxton said.

The sheriff said it appeared Barker had spent the past week camping at the park.

“She had some clothes there, she had some water ... she said she’d walked from her house over there and was just enjoying being outside and in nature.”

Barker was taken to Northside Hospital-Forsyth, where she was reunited with her family

She had not been seen since Oct. 5, when she made a transaction at a local Wachovia bank.

Her daughter realized she was missing the next day, when she stopped by Barker’s residence at Oxford Summit Apartments on Ronald Reagan Boulevard.

Authorities spent a couple hours Tuesday afternoon searching the area near Barker's apartment, which is several miles from the dam and Lake Lanier.

Paxton said Barker had gone swimming in the lake a couple of times.

[She was] “enjoying being out in the weather and apparently had not thought about the fact that some of her family was concerned with her whereabouts," he said.

“I kind of look at it like in the 'Crocodile Dundee' movies, they go on a walkabout. It looks like Ms. Barker just decided that she was going to go on a walkabout and there’s no law against that."