Authorities widen search for Kentucky woman missing in Virgin Islands

Lucy Schuhmann has not been seen since Sept. 19.

Authorities in the U.S. Virgin Islands said they've expanded their search for Lucy Schuhmann, a 48-year-old from Kentucky who's been missing for more than a week.

Schuhmann was reported missing on Sept. 19 by the proprietor of her vacation rental in Coral Bay, on the island of St. John, after she didn't return home, local authorities said.

In recent days, local authorities and the Virgin Islands National Park Service began widening their search to additional hiking trails, roadsides and shorelines.

"I'm grateful for the diligence and care that our National Parks team on St. John have demonstrated," Stacey Plaskett, the Virgin Islands' Congressional delegate, said in a statement. "Our office will continue to support the team and are praying for Lucy and her family."

The search for Schuhmann has been made more difficult by poor weather and uncompromising terrain.

"Some of the most remote and rugged areas of the park were searched. The terrain is very steep and thickly vegetated," the National Park Service said in a statement. "High sea conditions continued throughout the day and debris posed hazards to persons searching the shoreline. Much of the southern shoreline of St John is cliff and boulders, and access in many places is limited to swimming in from small watercraft."

On Friday local "technical climbing experts" joined the park staff so they could further expand the search.

So far, authorities have used scuba divers and snorkelers in the waters off St. John and the U.S. Coast Guard searched the area with a helicopter. Still, there have been no signs of the missing woman.

Virgin Islands Park Superintendent Nigel Field said Schuhmann's family wanted to let everyone know that "Lucy's first priority would be for the safety of the persons who are looking for her."

Earlier this week, authorities partially suspended their search until Tropical Storm Karen had passed. The Park Service has asked the public not to visit the Salt Pond area while the search is ongoing.

Anyone with information regarding Schuhmann's whereabouts is asked to call 866-995-8467.

Schuhmann is about 5 feet, 8 inches tall, weighs about 130 pounds, and has blue eyes and blond hair.