A family has been left desperate for information after a mum of three has appeared to have “vanished into thin air”. Police are now offering a $5,000 reward in exchange for any information that could help to locate her.
A Florida mum hasn’t been seen for nearly two weeks after she was last seen by family members at her home in Belle Isle, at around noon on September 25.
Stephanie Chitwood Hollingsworth vanished from her home after taking off in her 2000 silver Chevrolet Tahoe, she took along her purse but left her phone at home.
A surveillance camera captured the 50-year-old withdrawing $20 at the nearby Bank of America on Hoffner Avenue and Goldenrod Road at 2 pm. Since then, no one has heard or seen Stephanie.
Investigators have said that they are extremely concerned for her wellbeing and safety, as she suffers from an unspecified mental health condition and is required care.
So far, the police search for Stephanie has been fruitless and despite the fact it’s been 11 days since her disappearance, the investigators have said it’s been “nothing. No leads at all.”
Sergeant Detective Jeremy Millis told the Click Orlando: “What’s odd about this case is that there’s only been one sighting or one transaction at the Bank of America Friday. Outside of that, we’ve taken just about every avenue that we can to locate her or the vehicle.
“There has been absolutely no sightings of the vehicle since the Bank of America transaction.”
Belle Isle Chief of Police Laura Houston has said that her department is not ruling out the theory that Stephanie simply could have left of her own accord; although foul play isn’t being ruled out either.
A $5,000 reward is now being offered by Crimeline, in exchange for any information on Stephanie’s whereabouts. Scott Hollingsworth, her husband, has also appealed to the public for help.
Stephanie’s husband believes it is unlikely that the mother of his three sons has decided to just take off without her phone, a change of clothes and without a word of where she was heading. He has insisted that she would never abandon her children.
Scott said: “The fact that she just vanished in thin air just doesn’t make sense. We can say with a certain degree of certainty that she is endangered at this point.”
He said that the family are at the stage of expecting “the worst” case scenario. Despite this, he has vowed to never give up searching for his wife, until the circumstances surrounding her disappearance are made clear.
He added: “I’m asking for everybody’s help to do everything they can to find her.
“Understand that this woman… Stephanie, my wife of 25 years is in trouble and we need to get her back to her family, her children.
“Stephanie… we are looking for you, your family loves you more than ever. We don’t know what’s going on but we’re going to find you…. just know that.”
A vigil was held on Friday for Stephanie’s disappearance and it attracted a large majority of the local community. Scott said it was a testament to how much his wife is loved by the community.
He told the Orlando Sentinel: “She’s an amazing person, an amazing mother. She’s a beautiful soul and just gave everything she had to everyone in her life.
“A lot of people loved her, and anyone could always count on her.”
Scott believes that the key to Stephanie’s disappearance will be solved once the SUV she was driving is located.
He explained: “What we’re asking for is people to check all their immediate surroundings — parking lots, apartment complexes, remote areas.
“Anywhere a truck like that can be parked and unnoticed for a long time. It can’t just disappear.”
Friends and neighbours have been taking part in the search for the 50-year-old and helping out wherever they can. Meanwhile, the Belle Isle Police Department is carrying out its own investigation.
Scott said: “We’ve had so many people searching all week. What this allows us to do is to do it in an organized fashion so we can not backtrack and cover a bigger area.”
To help in the emotional search, Stephanie’s brother Chad has driven up from Boca Raton.
Chad said: “She’s got three boys. Everyone says what a loving person she is. My sister’s lived in this community for over 10 years. All her friends are here for her.”
Although volunteers have been carrying out searches throughout the area over the weekend, no new discoveries have yet to be yielded.
Stephanie has been described as five feet and four inches tall, she has brown hair and eyes and she was last wearing a black shirt and black pants. She was driving a silver Chevrolet Tahoe with the Florida license plate: Y50XUR.
Anyone with any information about her whereabouts has been asked to call the Belle Isle Police Department via the Orange County Sheriff’s Office Dispatch line at 407-836-4357 or call 911.
You can now report any tips to Crimeline at 800-423-TIPS anonymously. Anyone that has information that leads to the whereabouts of Stephanie Hollingsworth can get up to a $5,000 reward.