On a hot Saturday afternoon in August, one Alabama woman was driving alone on the highway, minding her own business, when she spotted something strange and quite terrifying.
The concerned driver decided to pull over to the side of the road to investigate the creepy scene and couldn’t believe what she had found…
Local woman Judy Garner was driving along Highway 82 in Bullock County, Alabama when she thought she saw a deer in distress on the side of the road. However, when she pulled over and got out of her car, she saw something that upset her even more.
Fighting for Life
“I was crying, I was scared and I didn’t know what to do,” Garner later said to NBC News. What she thought was an injured animal was actually a young woman completely covered in mud and fighting for her life…
Naked and Afraid
The young woman was barely alive and not wearing any clothes. Garner called police to come to the scene where they quickly identified her as a woman who had been missing for a month. Her name was Lisa Theris and she was 25 years old.
Lisa had been studying to be a radiologist at a nearby college at the time of her disappearance. Before enrolling in school, she also worked as a waitress at a nearby Hooters. For the past month, her family and friends had no idea what could have happened to Lisa…
Local police began a search that spanned across several nearby counties, searching high and low for the attractive and young missing woman. However, Lisa’s disappearance was particularly concerning because she had reportedly started making some new friends that her loved ones weren’t sure about.
Rumors spread that Lisa Theris had recently fallen in with a bad crowd, something that concerned police and investigators greatly. In early 2017, Lisa had apparently broken up with her boyfriend and moved back in with her parents and things had gone downhill from there.
Reed later told the Daily Mail he had become increasingly concerned about his ex-girlfriend’s behavior. “She was staying out late, mixing with the wrong people,” he said. A few months later, in June 2017, Theris was arrested for disrupting and causing a disturbance at one of her new friend’s court hearings.
She was soon released on bail but her family were extremely worried. Besides Lisa’s clear problems with the law, she was suffering from serious health issues as well. Lisa had eye problems for a very long time and was registered as legally blind. Although she could see, it wasn’t very well at all and caused her many problems.
To make matters worse, Lisa Theris had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, a serious mental health illness that requires monitoring and medication. When left untreated, bipolar-associated mania could cause extreme distress and problems for the sufferer.
Bipolar disorder is a condition that causes people to experience severe shifts in mood. People afflicted with this disorder, also known as manic depression, typically endure both periods of elevated feelings and spells of depression. It didn’t take long after she went missing before Lisa’s loved ones suspected this had something to do with her disappearing so suddenly…
Bill Theris, Lisa’s father, first called police to report his daughter missing on July 23, 2017, describing her with brown hair and blue eyes, about five-foot-five and weighing about 145 lbs. It was five days after anyone in her family had last seen or spoken to her and it seemed very unusual for Lisa, despite her unusual recent behavior.
Just two days later, police received a tip that Lisa Theris was spotted at a nearby Walmart. Unfortunately, security cameras from the store failed to show any sign of the missing woman and it appeared to be a false alarm. However, police refused to give up on the young woman so quickly…
Investigators were able to make the connection of Lisa’s disappearance with a recent robbery at a nearby hunting lodge. The robbery occurred shortly after Lisa last had any contact with her family or friends and police learned that she had spent the day with the crime’s two main suspects.
Warrant for Arrest
Local men Manley Davis and Randy Oswald from Troy, AL, were wanted in relation to the hunting lodge break-in and the theft of property worth more than $40,000. They also appeared to be the last two people in contact with Lisa Theris before she went missing. Police soon issued warrants for both of their arrests, hoping they could shine a light on what happened to Lisa…
Soon after, Manley Davis was spotted driving a white Cadillac and fled from police, but was later found hiding out in a different car. Randy Oswald was later apprehended on August 4, 2017, after leading cops on a late-night car chase across three counties before he finally ran out of gas and was caught trying to escape on foot through the woods.
Both men acted confused to be questioned about Lisa Theris’ disappearance and admitted she had been with them on the night of the break-in at the hunting lodge. However, that’s where their stories went in completely different directions. While Davis claimed Theris jumped out of their truck before they crashed through the gates of the hunting lodge, his partner in crime told a much more gruesome story…
Oswald, on the other hand, blamed Davis for Theris’ death, claiming he killed her and disposed of her body, dumping her in a nearby stream. Now police believed they were searching for a body, bringing in special police divers and cadaver dogs to look for the remains of Lisa Theris. However, they found no signs of her disappearance anywhere.
After seven weeks without any sign of her, Lisa Theris was presumed dead until just two days later when a woman fitting her description, naked and disoriented, was found by Judy Garner on the roadside near the woods where she had last been seen. Garner was completely shocked. “I don’t think she could have made it much longer,” Garner later told NBC News, explaining that she was in the right place at the right time to help.
The woman was, in fact, Lisa Theris. She was alive but in very bad shape: covered in insect bites, bumps, cuts and scrapes, and weighing 50 lbs. less than when she vanished. When she finally regained her health, Theris recounted the month she spent alone and naked in the woods, claiming she survived by scavenging for berries and mushrooms and drinking dirty stream water that made her sick. However, there were some people, along with the police who pointed out berries don’t grow in that area and didn’t believe her story of being helpless and lost in the woods…
The Sheriff’s department believes Lisa was high on meth and hallucinating when she just got lost in the woods and Theris agrees that drugs played a part in her ordeal. “I believe that I was drugged and dropped off by people who I thought were my friends,” she said. The truth about what Lisa endured during that long month in the Alabama forest may never be revealed, but her family is just happy that she is alive and will recover. No matter what happened to Lisa, it’s clear she had a strong will to survive and will hopefully turn her life around for the better after her brush with death.