Following the Money: $1,000 of taxpayer money spent to find missing Idaho woman

Following the Money: $1,000 of taxpayer money spent to find missing Idaho woman »Play Video
FRANKLIN COUNTY, Wash. -- The discovery of Rashelle Klontz didn't really explain her disappearance.

The north Idaho woman was found healthy and without injury in a wheat field just a short distance from where she went missing. But a day later, it's not clear if she was missing at all or left willingly.

Her father told us he hasn't asked his daughter what happened, but the Franklin County Sheriff has a basic idea.

"She had gone out and laid down in the wheat field and that's where she'd be for the last nearly 24 hours," says Sheriff Richard Lathim.

But while she was laying in that field, our community was coming together to find her. Taxpayer resources being spent to find her and private citizens joining the search party. A farmer paid for hotel rooms for Rashelle's family. The Country Mercantile paid for their dinner.

Without knowing if she'd been kidnapped -- the Tri-Cities was ready to do anything to find the 21-year old.

Community members came out in droves looking for her. In fact, it was a farmer driving by his wheat field that found her as she popped her head up when she heard him coming. It was at that time, they called off the search.

We wanted to know how much the official search cost you. Franklin County tells us despite the ground crews and the rental of a plane, the expense was minimal.

"It's less than a thousand dollars," Lathim continued.

Now that it seems Rashelle wandered away on her own, many are frustrated that this could hurt other cases in the future when people are really abducted.

Reporter: "Is this going to affect situations like this in the future where people think, hey she's just on a hike like that other girl. Is that going to affect things in the future?"

Answer: "No, it's not going to affect anything. You know, how we handled and how we responded to the situation was based on information that we had available to us. You know, a lot of people jumped the conclusion that she was kidnapped by some person and taken away, but there was just no evidence to support that theory," Lathim says.

While it's not clear why Rashelle left -- or didn't respond to those desperately searching for her -- it's a relief to all -- that she's safe and back at home.

It wasn't just farmers helping in the search either. Community members on horseback joined and friends from back home even purchased airplane tickets to come help.