Missing grandmother found, charged with hit-and-run

Kyle Hopkins

An Anchorage woman traveling with her granddaughter disappeared overnight for 16 hours before troopers arrested her 330 miles away Wednesday outside of Fairbanks.

The charge? Hit-and-run.

Police say Amelia Gilman, 45, was driving a Dodge Durango carrying her 18-month-old granddaughter when the SUV struck two vehicles at a stoplight in South Anchorage. That was 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, said police spokeswoman Jennifer Castro.

No one was reported hurt, police said.

Gilman never came home after the accident, prompting her husband to report her as a missing person late Tuesday night, Castro said. Anchorage police called on the public to help track her down Wednesday morning, making headlines across Alaska.

That's when state Department of Transportation Employees realized they had seen Gilman and her Durango near Cantwell, more than 200 miles north of Anchorage. Gilman had run out of gas, police said, and the state employees gave her a few gallons sometime Wednesday morning.

When they realized Gilman was the missing woman, the Transportation Department workers called state troopers, who pulled her over at 11:23 a.m. on the Parks Highway near Fairbanks, a trooper spokeswoman said.

It was unclear Wednesday why Gilman left the scene of the accident and did not return home, police said.

Court records show Gilman filed a restraining order Dec. 5 against her stepson, expressing concern about her granddaughters' safety. Castro said she did not know if those fears played a role in the grandmother's temporary disappearance with the child.

Anchorage police had not yet interviewed the woman Wednesday afternoon and did not know her motives, she said.

Gilman was taken to Fairbanks Correctional Center after her arrest, according to troopers. The Office of Children's Services took custody of the 18-month-old girl and planned to give the girl to a family member who was traveling to Fairbanks Wednesday, police said.

The girl was not hurt, Castro said.

Reporter Casey Grove contributed to this story. Twitter updates: twitter.com/adn_kylehopkins. Call Kyle Hopkins at 257-4334 or email him at khopkins@adn.com.

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