Two days after entering intensive care, 33-year-old Tanya Rider is showing some improvement.
Rider suffered a broken collarbone and a dislocated shoulder when her car plunged into a ravine in Redmond, Wash. Doctors say she might have died had she not been wearing her seatbelt. The crash mangled Rider's right leg, but doctors are now optimistic it will heal.
"When you really talk to her really loud, she knows you're there. She knows you love her," her mother Nancy Loe said.
Rider's lungs and pulse have strengthened and relatives say she's squeezing their hands and showing subtle signs of awareness.
"There's some degree of damage to the muscles, but not an extensive amount so it's still hopeful that she will keep that leg," Dr. Lisa McIntyre said.
For Rider's husband, Tom, relief is tinged with anger. He says police ignored his initial pleas for help and wasted valuable time scrutinizing him.
"When the husband says, 'Something's wrong, my wife's missing, this isn't normal,' why doesn't that meet the criteria for a missing persons search?" Rider asked.
But law enforcement experts say it's routine for agencies to vigorously vet missing persons claims before committing resources.
Rider said he tried to report her as a missing person early on and didn't get much traction with the authorities "because she's an adult and can go where she wants to."
He said authorities finally began to search after his second attempt to contact them for assistance.
"An officer came out and kind of had the attitude like they weren't going to do much," he said. "So then I kind of made his jaw drop when I told him to go search the house and get that over with."
In the days that his wife was missing, Rider said he developed several theories on her disappearance.
"I thought maybe somebody wanted her car more than her," he said. "Or maybe I just made her mad. I don't know. I didn't know what to think."
"Law enforcement is not a finite entity, and they only have so many people, and they have to prioritize," ABC News consultant Brad Garrett said.
The cause of the crash remains unknown, though authorities and Rider's husband suspect she may have simply fallen asleep behind the wheel.