A wife stranded in the desert was prepared to die next to her husband.
Dianna Bedwell, 68, and her husband, Cecil “Paul” Knutson, 79, found themselves stranded in a California desert in May after taking a wrong turn. They spent two weeks trying to survive in their white Hyundai Sonata that was stopped on an unpaved road in the Mountains between San Diego and Riverside counties, the Press Enterprise reports.
A week into their horrific situation, on May 17, tragedy struck, and Paul passed away. Before he died, Dianna told him that she forgave him for making the wrong turn. In her first public comments on their ordeal, she said she had made peace with her husband’s mistake and was prepared to die with him.
“I told him, ‘Honey we all make mistakes. We all make wrong choices.’ That’s all that was,” Bedwell said Friday, July 10, while speaking at a memorial service at Ingold Funeral Chapel in Fontana. “We had 29 wonderful years together. If we make it out, fine. If we don’t make it out, fine.”
“He was sweet, kind, as always,” she added of her husband’s last days. The Marine land mine demolition expert in the Korean War seemed to know he was going to die, Dianna said.
The Fullerton couple, who were both retired school bus drivers and diabetics, were headed from a casino to their son’s home for a Mother’s Day dinner near Palm Springs, California. Paul accidentally made a wrong turn, and when he tried to turn around, their vehicle got stuck on a rock.
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They attempted to survive on only rainwater, a butter cream pie, and eight pounds of oranges, ABC News reports. Knutson used a cane and a walker to make several trips outside the car, but eventually he and Bedwell were no longer able to walk. Eventually, Paul died from a heart attack, and he was found outside of the driver’s side door, draped over the running boards.
Thankfully, Dianna said her husband died with no pain.
“He just fell asleep,” she said. “I thank God for that. There was no pain, no anger.”
When his parents didn’t arrive as scheduled, Robert Acosta reported them missing. Searchers on land and in the air failed to locate their vehicle because it was under trees in such a remote location. However, on May 24, two weeks after they became stranded, a group of off-roaders found Dianna. Although she was severely dehydrated, she was alive. She was later airlifted to a nearby hospital.
Knutson was honored with a 21-gun salute and Taps at Riverside National Cemetery, where an urn with his ashes was buried.
[Photo via Shutterstock]