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Family keeping missing woman's memory alive 11 years after disappearance

(WDBJ)
Published: May. 17, 2020 at 9:56 AM EDT
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It's been 11 years since the disappearance of a woman in Halifax County.

No one has reported seeing Hattie Brown since May 16, 2009, but she's far from forgotten. "Eleven years is just like a year ago for us. We're desperate for an answer," said Preteasta Barksdale, Brown's sister.

Each year, the family holds a celebration in Brown's memory.

This year, the event was canceled due to coronavirus concerns, but efforts remain. "And we still have to keep it out there that no, she is not forgotten, and she has still not been found," explained Barksdale.

In the days before Brown went missing, her sister says she was helping her nephew, Derek.

The two were spotted together at a Sheetz gas station, in the early hours of May 16, 2009.

After Brown left the store, she disappeared.

Family believes her generous nature may have played a role in her disappearance. "God, I miss her terribly because she was a very kind person," Barksdale recalled.

Brown served in the Army for 18 years.

She was a Sergeant First Class who served during Operation Desert Storm. "She had seen the world, flew everywhere but it was not like her to not tell us where she was going to go," Barksdale said.

Two months after she went missing, her car was found burned, with no sign of Brown.

In 2016, her family was faced with the difficult decision of having her declared legally dead. "It is very emotional, but we have to hold on to hope," said Barksdale.

If you have any information on Brown's case, you're asked to contact state police.

Copyright 2020 WDBJ7. All rights reserved.

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