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NEK clings to hope for abducted grandmother - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

NEK clings to hope for abducted grandmother

Pat O'Hagan Pat O'Hagan

Sheffield, Vermont - September 15, 2010

As residents of Sheffield prepare for colder weather there's a somber chill in the village.

"We're all just laying low and hoping for some good news. Or any news at this point," resident Matt Brill said.

He's waiting for word on Pat O'Hagan. The 78-year-old grandmother vanished from her home Friday. Vermont State Police say she was kidnapped.

"Although we believe this is an isolated incident, which I will not elaborate on, we remind citizens they should take every precaution to lock their homes and vehicles," Vt. State Police Maj. Ed Ledo said.

Volunteers joined police in searching for O'Hagan in fields, roads, and abandoned buildings throughout Sheffield and neighboring towns. Investigators are staying tight-lipped on exactly why they believe she was abducted, declining to answer if it appears someone broke into the avid kayaker and community volunteer's home or if they used a weapon against her.

Reporter Jack Thurston: Was Mrs. O'Hagan's handbag left behind?

Maj. Ed Ledo: I'm not going to get into that, Jack.

Thurston: What has been the activity on Mrs. O'Hagan's bank accounts, credit cards, things like that?

Ledo: That's part of the investigation that I'm not going to get into.

Ledo says his detectives and FBI agents are following up on a large number of tips from the public, but would not say if they've led them in any specific directions.

"Our family is rallying together," said Terry O'Hagan, the missing woman's son.

Terry O'Hagan and his large family are leaning on each other for support. Matt O'Hagan keeps reminding himself of a lesson from his mom and late father. "Be strong, be faithful, be together. And we're going to do that," Matt O'Hagan said.

It appears O'Hagan is universally liked, she volunteers for several groups all around town and one lady who spoke to WCAX News described her as acting more like 40 years old than 78 years old. Police say she simply would not wander off, but again, they're not revealing any more details of their case. They're still offering a cash reward for information that leads them to O'Hagan.

More searches are planned. State Police are expecting some help from the Border Patrol Thursday. They'll be using a helicopter to search the area from the sky. WCAX News asked police if that indicates they think she might be outdoors or might have been dragged someplace remote. Police would not comment on that, either-- they're just saying they will use any tool in their toolbox to try to solve this mystery.

Police are offering a $5,000 reward for help solving the mystery. They're 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.

Jack Thurston - WCAX News

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