Police in Vermont's Northeast Kingdom now say a missing woman was snatched from her home in Sheffield. Tuesday, the family of Pat O'Hagan told reporters they don't know why anyone would want to hurt a 78-year-old woman, but they're hoping someone knows something that can help bring her home safely.
"The police have been great. The community's been terrific," said Terry O'Hagan, the missing woman's son.
Between tears, and calling her "loving" and "conservative," Pat O'Hagan's relatives and friends are holding out hope they will soon wake up from their nightmare. "She didn't have any enemies in town," Terry O'Hagan said. "Everybody liked her. Nobody's had anything negative to say about her."
The widow was last seen Friday afternoon. She was reported missing Saturday after she did not attend her craft group's meeting; something other members told police was very uncharacteristic of O'Hagan. Police Sunday labeled the disappearance a missing person case with suspicious circumstances. Monday, they would not discuss specific evidence, or whether searches of O'Hagan's home revealed signs of a struggle.
After days of searching turned up nothing, detectives Tuesday said O'Hagan was likely kidnapped from her home on Route 122 near the village in Sheffield. "I'm sure this will be very hard for the local community to grasp," Vt. State Police Capt. David Covell said.
Investigators would not say what led them to the abduction theory, but O'Hagan's car was left in her driveway. Friends and family say she's of sound mind and a vibrant member of her community. "It's surprising to us as well that something like this could happen," Terry O'Hagan said.
State police called the FBI for help-- agents are expected in Sheffield soon. Having federal authorities involved will make it easier on investigators if the case crosses state lines. But right now, police said they have no evidence that O'Hagan is outside of Vermont. They say bringing in the FBI is planning for all contingencies.
In describing the case as a kidnapping, State Police did not reveal a motive or name a suspect, but they say the case is their top priority. "We're always optimistic and hopeful in these cases," Covell said.
"Anybody who has information relative to the case that can be helpful, please come forward. Any information large or small can be helpful," Terry O'Hagan said.
Police are offering a $5,000 reward for information in the case. They're still asking the public to call them with tips at the barracks in St. Johnsbury at 802-748-3111 or the State Police Crime Information Tip Line at 802-241-5355. Police are offering a reward of up to $5,000 for help solving the case.
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