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Abby Patterson, 20, is the latest young woman from Lumberton, North Carolina, to go missing.
According to CBS News, she vanished in early September and was last seen getting into a car.
Police are investigating whether Patterson’s disappearance is connected to the deaths of three other young women in Lumberton, although at this point they don’t think it is, according to CBS. Authorities have not determined a cause of death in the other cases because the bodies were too decomposed to do so.
“While there is always a possibility, we are 99 percent sure the case is not related to the females this spring and early summer,” said Capt. Terry W. Parker of the Lumberton Police Department to WNCN-TV.
However, the police chief told Fox News, “At this point we don’t know if there’s a connection.”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Three Other Young Women Were Found Dead in Lumberton in Recent Months
The other young women from Lumberton who were found dead are Christina Bennett, 32, Rhonda Jones, 36, and Megan Oxendine, 28. According to People Magazine, they “vanished from the same town in separate incidents.” However, People also says that investigators in the Patterson case don’t suspect a connection at this point.
Oxendine’s family told WPDE that they believe she was murdered. Her body was found near an abandoned home in the same area as the other deaths. “There’s already been two other people that have been murdered down there and it’s only been nine weeks, and now a third one, our Megan,” Megan’s sister, Taylor, told the television station.
Oxendine was friends with another of the victims, Rhonda Jones, according to WNCN, which reported, “Bennett’s and Jones’ bodies were found April 18. Oxendine was alive at the time, and was interviewed by CBS North Carolina about the death of her friend, Jones. Oxendine’s body was found June 3.”
Megan’s interview starts at about 1 minute into this video:
“Bennett’s body was found in a house. Jones’ body was in a trash can. And Oxendine’s body was behind a house,” reported WNCN.
Police have also not determined whether the three deaths are tied to each other but are considering the possibility. No suspect has been found in any of the cases.
2. Patterson Left Her Family’s Home to Run Errands
Patterson left her family’s home in Lumberton, North Carolina, and was never seen again, according to UK Daily Mail.
“She vanished from her family’s home in Lumberton on September 5. She told her mother she was going out to run errands and would be back in an hour but never returned,” reported Daily Mail.
Daily Mail added: “She was last seen getting into an acquaintance’s car and was never seen again. Police have interviewed that acquaintance several times but no charges have been brought.”
According to Fox News, Lumberton police said of the acquaintance, “We’re still talking to him,” and “We think it’s someone she knew, but we’re not sure,” but wouldn’t release his name or say whether he’s a person of interest.
3. Patterson, Who Recently Completed Drug Rehab, Was Described as Someone Who ‘Touched So Many People’
According to CBS News, “before she disappeared, Patterson had been discharged from drug rehab and come to town to visit her mom. He said she called an acquaintance to pick her up and has not been heard from since.”
Police called the case an “active missing person” investigation, CBS reported, and they don’t even know for sure whether Patterson is alive or dead.
Some people on Facebook wrote that it appeared Abby had liked a Facebook post by her boyfriend days after she went missing, but her mother disputed that, writing on Facebook, “It has been investigated . It’s an old post he was updating and it made a new post.”
Her mother also wrote, “Abby Lynn Patterson touched so many people and made such an impression. Not only her family miss her dearly, but people that she touched with her free spirited personality. Abby has never known a stranger. She loves everyone and everyone that even made a brief contact with her loves her. #findabby.”
4. There Is a Reward Being Offered for Information About Patterson
Police have released a description of Abby Patterson to the public, and there is a $5,000 reward being offered in the case. Anyone with information should call the Lumberton Police Department at 910-671-3846.
She has brown hair and eyes, is 5 foot 7 inches tall and weighs 140 pounds, has light skin, has a bird tattoo on her shoulder and a birthmark on her back left thigh, police say.
On Facebook, Abby wrote that she lived in Jacksonville, Florida.
Her anguished mother has written extensively about the disappearance on Facebook. Abby’s last post on Facebook reads, “Family is forever.”
She was in a relationship since April. Her boyfriend has filled his Facebook page with photos of them as a couple.
5. Patterson Is Described as ‘Bubbly’ & ‘Free-Spirited’
Patterson’s mother told Fox News that it wasn’t like her daughter to disappear without a trace. Normally, she would stay in contact with her family.
“We talk or text every day,” said Samantha Lovette, Patterson’s mother, to Fox. “When she didn’t come home after an hour, I called her cell phone and it went straight to voicemail.”
The mother added to Fox: “We just want her home,” describing Patterson, her youngest child, as “bubbly and free-spirited.”
Her mother shared a message exchange with her daughter in which both said they loved the other. She wrote, “I’m was scrolling down your fb and I came across this post. I heard from you everyday. Not a day went by we didn’t talk and it’s killing me not hearing from you.. It’s been a month today and I haven’t heard your voice or that crazy laugh that always made me giggle. I feel like my heart will burst at even given time. I know that God has a plan and I have to find peace and stay strong until you are found. If only I had the strength and courage you’ve shown me. I know if you could you would say, mommie please don’t cry and please don’t worry. I’m not going to give up sweet girl and I’m putting my trust in God for understanding and comfort as to why this is happening. So many people in so many states life you have touched in some kind of way. You are a beautiful soul Abby Lynn Patterson. We all miss, love and so many people are praying for you every day. You said you would be back and I’m waiting on you, hurry sweet girl!! #findabby #loveyoumoremamamia.”