A month ago Deanna Brooks, 70, left her Santa Cruz home bound for her mother's 90th birthday party in San Diego.
She took some money out of the bank, packed her things in her 2003 gold PT Cruiser, and left at about 7 p.m. Aug. 24, planning to arrive the next day.
But her family says she disappeared. She never made it to San Diego. She never called or contacted anyone. Her credit cards weren't used. There is no sign of where she could be. Police checked her computer and she hasn't used email. She had no cell phone with her
"I've never seen anything like it in my career," said Santa Cruz Lt. Larry Richard.
It's been devastating for the family and friends of this outgoing Santa Cruz woman, who sold collectibles at Attilia's Antiques.
"The really strong part we want to get across is that on any road or highway, we ask the public to help us out and by hyper-vigilant," said friend Leslie Crook, a fellow dealer.
The family has driven the roads and hired a helicopter to trace her route. They assumed she took U.S. 101 because she wouldn't have liked to have driven the curves of Highway 1 at night.
Her son Taylor Flynn, the publisher of the Mountain News in Lake Tahoe, has even walked some of the more desolate roads looking at guardrails for signs of an accident.
They assume also that she had a full tank of gas and could make about 300 miles on that. There is no record of her buying gas after she left.
He wrote a passionate account of the search and the anguish here.
"No, she does not have dementia," he wrote. "She's a loving, with-it grandmother of eight who had planned this trip for weeks."
Santa Cruz police put out a bulletin to all law enforcement officers in the state to have them look for the car, which has damage on both sides, and the license plate 5EEV387. They got no response.
She is described as 5 feet 3 inches tall, with brown hair and green eyes. She uses a walker.
"It sounds cliched, but I now know what people mean when they say they want closure," said Crook.
There is a Facebook page devoted to the search called Find Deanna Brooks with passionate comments from friends:
"I just want to say once again that I am praying and praying that Deanna is found very, very soon," wrote Beverly Young. "I have people asking me everyday about her. There is so much support out there that it really is so hard to understand why she hasn't been found by now. I feel so bad for her children. Not knowing what has happened is extremely difficult to live every day with."
Added Lisa Siri Ferre: "I think about Deanna every day. One of the first things I do every morning is check google to see if any new information is availible about Deanna and the search for her. How does a woman and a car go missing in Modern Day America for this long? I also am having a hard time wondering how she hasn't been found yet. My heart goes out to her family, I can only imagine what they are going through."
If you have information, please contact Santa Cruz Police at (831) 420-5820, the anonymous tip line at 420-5995 or leave a tip at www.santacruzpolice.com or by the mobile application at http://m.santacruzpolice.com.
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