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Search called off after missing Va. woman’s car found in Alabama woods

Posted at 12:37 AM, Aug 20, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-20 00:37:39-04

MONROEVILLE, Ala. -- Police have ended the search for Shari Saunders, 67, who went missing in Alabama.

Saunders left her home in the Five Points section of Norfolk to visit her family in Monroeville, Alabama, on August 4.

Her niece, Amanda Reed, told WTKR that Saunders has been a Norfolk native for 17 years and has driven to Monroeville four times before.

"She was visiting my mother because my mother has Alzheimer's and so me, her and my mother are very close and my dad always look forward to her visits and she's like a second mom to me," Reed said.

Family members knew something wasn't right when Saunders never checked in.

Reed said Saunders would call every 30 minutes to an hour on all four prior trips.

Shari Saunders (SOURCE: WKRG)

Shari Saunders (SOURCE: WKRG)

Police in Evergreen, Alabama, said the 67-year-old woman was last seen stopping for gas at a Shell Station shortly after 1 a.m on August 5.

There are surveillance images that show Saunders' red Toyota Corolla and her at the cash register there.

Family members said that she was only 30 minutes away from her destination.

"We have called her phone every day since (August) the 4th praying to God that maybe it turns on and it doesn't," added Reed. "We've left her I'm pretty sure at least 300 voicemails at this point."

Search crews have been looking for Shari Saunders, but there's been no sign of her.

Investigators said they found her car deep in the woods of Alabama on August 12.

Police ended their search three days later.

"Trying not to cry, but yeah we have no answers. We don't know what, when, where, why or how," continued Reed. "We don't know and that's the frightening part."

The family says there have been a lot of tears shed and frustration felt, but they're still clinging onto faith to bring Saunders home.

"Please this is our family and whatever thoughts you may have, just pray please," Reed mentioned.