Cold Case: WLOX investigates the disappearance of Rebecca Reid

Rebecca’s family members and the community who loved her say it’s time to bring her home.
Published: Apr. 13, 2023 at 3:38 PM CDT
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PEARL RIVER COUNTY, Miss. (WLOX) - Rebecca Reid’s disappearance has shaken the small Pearl River County community where she grew up.

Rebecca’s sister was the last one to see her on Jan. 24, 2020. Since she vanished, investigators have conducted hundreds of interviews and have a stockpile of false leads. Three years have passed. Rebecca’s family members and the community who loved her say it’s time to bring her home.

“Something so big just happened out here in the middle of nowhere,” Rebecca’s sister Vada Reid said.

“It makes you look at your neighbors,” her cousin Rhonda Cooley said.

“It’s not like you can say ok we’ve got a crime scene here where we can investigate and gather evidence,” Chief Deputy Freddy Drennan with Pearl County Sheriff Office said. “We have a person who just disappeared.”

“We’ve looked everywhere,” Cooley said. “There’s no sign of her at all.”

“About dark, I get the phone call from my dad, she’s not at home,” Reid said. “That’s when everything started. Here we are three years later, still nothing.”

Hundreds of volunteers searched by horseback, ATVs, and drones, combing through more than a thousand acres in this small farming community of Pearl River County - all to find a special needs woman who vanished without a trace leaving behind her ID, glasses and life-saving medication.

Close relatives say Rebecca’s disappearance has left a hole in their hearts.

“Never did I ever see her without getting a big hug and kiss,” Cooley said. “She just a sweet girl, she really was.”

Rebecca was 32 years old when she disappeared around 4 p.m. on Jan. 24. Her sister said Rebecca left their house on a mile-long trek through the woods to walk their dad home from the farm.

“She was very scared of the dark, and when she would have left the house, it would have been dusk,” Cooley said. “That’s been one of our hesitations that she came this far.”

“I left for work that day and I left her in the driveway at the house,” Reid said. “Dad, with his Alzheimer’s, it was getting dark. He got concerned and called me at work. I posted on Facebook – ‘had anyone on Leetown seen her?’”

“There was a lady reported that she saw Rebecca walking down Leetown Road and that there was a white SUV stopped where she was walking,” Cooley said. “So that’s what everybody was focused on, maybe she got in that white SUV.”

“That was a Trailblazer that was seen in the area,” Chief Deputy Drennan said. “Of course, that was a lead that was followed up on. There’s no real hardcore evidence at this point in time that it had anything to do with it.”

Rebecca’s family said she never would have approached a stranger for a ride.

“If somebody took her, it’s somebody that knew her because she would have not gotten in the vehicle with anyone,” Cooley said.

“I don’t think anybody could have forced Rebecca into a vehicle,” Cooley said. “She had asthma, she had high blood pressure, she had diabetes, and she was obese.”

“The family, before they reported it to us, had already initiated a search,” Chief Deputy Drennan said. “We’ve used all the technology that we have available to us. It’s been foot-searched multiple times (and) drone-searched. We’ve brought in dogs to help us search.”

If she’s not in these dense woods, where is she?

“There’s been a couple of supposed sightings,” Cooley said. “One was in Mobile, Alabama. They went and checked that and there was nothing to that.”

“There’s been hundreds of interviews already done on this case,” Chief Deputy Freddy Drennan said.

Rebecca’s own sister said she’s been questioned.

“I’ve put been through the wringer,” Reid said. “I was one of the suspects because I was one of the last people to see her before she went missing.”

Reed said she has no knowledge of the disappearance and is not a suspect. Reid said she’d been uneasy about Rebecca’s relationship with the wife of the pastor at the church her sister had attended. Reid said Rebecca gave that woman access to her bank account. Investigators say they have questioned that woman but neither she nor anyone associated with the church have been named as suspects. The woman said she was staying with a relative when Rebecca went missing and had nothing to do with her disappearance.

According to law enforcement, Rebecca’s bank account with disability and social security payments has remained untouched since her disappearance.

Investigators aren’t giving up on the case and will pursue any lead they need to.

“We’ll go back tomorrow and search if we get a lead and need to do that,” Chief Deputy Drennan said. “We’d love to bring her home to the family.”

Family members hope three years without answers does not turn into a decade without closure.

“After a while, you kind of lose hope, but I don’t wanna lose hope, you know,” Reid said.

“Our goal is to have her home, and every time somebody says they’ve seen her, it does bring hope,” Cooley said. “You pray that it’s her. If she wasn’t happy and she left on her own, then she’s a grown woman. That’s her prerogative, but we want to know where she’s at and if she’s okay.”

If you have any information on Rebecca’s disappearance, you can report those tips anonymously through MS Gulf Coast Crime Stoppers by calling 877-787-5898. There is a $5,000 reward through Crime Stoppers for information that could lead to finding Rebecca Reid. You can also report tips to the Pearl River County Sheriff’s Office at 601-798-5528.

A woman with intellectual disabilities vanished without a trace. Rebecca Reid's disappearance has shaken the Pearl River County community where she grew up.

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