Hope in an unsolved mystery

Published 11:15pm Wednesday, July 31, 2013

One year has passed since the beloved Beloit senior Adline George went missing.

I shouldn’t have bothered with putting makeup on the day I went out to her home and joined the search party. I wore high heels, a pencil skirt and took time to manage my frizzy curls into a straight mane, only to get to work and hear about a woman who went missing.

I raced to Beloit and ventured down several county roads to find a team of searchers waiting with walking sticks and wading boots. The volunteers had trekked all morning through thick woods. And they didn’t know then, but they would do that for weeks.

Some deputies with the Dallas County Sheriff’s Department were waiting for me with a mule where I hopped on and went for a cruise around the temporary headquarters they set up for missing Adline.

After jotting some details down in my note pad — Adline’s height, weight and age, I asked the deputies bluntly what they thought had happened to the 89-year-old woman who went on two-mile walks each day through her neighborhood. They told me, they honestly had no idea.

My makeup had melted and my curls had frizzed back to life after the mule ride, but that wasn’t the reason I had no desire to return to the newsroom that day. I just wanted to go into the woods, walk around the neighborhood and find this woman so many people considered to be a mother, even if they weren’t related to her.

I awkwardly walked over to her daughter; scribbled down her name in pencil that was so light I could barely read it later. She was so concerned, so upset about where her mother was, I couldn’t look down at my note pad.

I asked her if there was any clue, any moment in the searching she got her hopes up and thought she was closer to her mom.

“We found a little plastic sandwich bag of figs,” she told me. “She always does that. She puts things in bags and takes them with her when she walks.”

But the police and search teams eventually found that wasn’t Adline’s bag of figs. And to this day there are no clues.

Several people have called her children to say they had seen her in small towns around Alabama. Each time her children, like when they saw a bag of figs, think this could be the clue. Each time they are let down and left to wonder where she could be and who might have her.

I get goose bumps thinking of her candlelight vigil when her pastor’s loud prayer boomed from Earth, and thunder came down from heaven. Her church family swayed hand-in-hand praying for her to come home or be happy at home in heaven.

I wish I had faith like her children, who keep out her favorite flowers for the day she returns.

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