Investigators find balloon trail leading from missing woman’s car

Posted at 8:31 PM, Sep 07, 2013
and last updated 2013-09-08 18:39:29-04

LUNENBURG COUNTY, Va. (WTVR) -- Search crews scoured a heavily wooded area of Lunenburg County over the weekend in hopes of tracking down 73-year-old Virginia Edmonds.

The congregation at Friendship Baptist Church prayed for comfort and closure for their longtime member on Sunday morning.

While Edmonds' son, church family and pastor prayed for divine intervention, several law enforcement agencies continued searching the rugged terrain off Egg Drive for a second day.

"We don't know which way she went,” Lunenburg County Sheriff Arthur Townsend Jr. said.  “We just have to try in theory to figure out which direction she went.”

Townsend pointed out the exact spot where a local hunter stumbled upon her car in a remote area of the woods last Sunday.

"He started to clear this direction,” the sheriff added. “He got a type of reflection and so he looked and that's where he spotted the vehicle sitting in this area.”

Townsend told CBS 6 News that after investigators recovered Edmonds' car, they discovered a trail of balloons that lead to a creek.  However, there was still no sign of Edmonds.

Search and rescue teams covered a more than 12-mile radius from where Edmonds’ car was located. The search was organized using statistics from a study done on more than 600 dementia patients that have gone missing in the hope that those stats can lead them in the right direction.

"We've been searching the river pretty heavily,” Townsend said.  "We had some points of interest in this side of the woods to search real good to see if we find anything in that area."

Although Edmonds suffers from dementia, Townsend said there was something on the property that jogged her memory.

"It was a family here that owned this farm that Mrs. Edmonds came in here to help farm the farm and sit with the children,” Townsend said.  "I understand that they would walk down to the creek.”

Townsend said Sunday marks the end of the ground search for Edmonds.

"Any investigation where you don't get the result you want is disappointing, but I'm certainly not disappointed in the effort," said Townsend.

Investigators are following up on leads and are still asking for the community's help. If you have information that could help investigators, call the Lunenburg County Sheriff’s Office at 434-696-4452.