A 31-year-old Fair Haven woman with the mental capacity of a teenager is missing and police believe she's been taken out-of-state. It's unclear if she's in danger
Jessica Flanders relies on a wheel-chair for mobility. The Rutland County Sheriff's Department, Vermont State Police and the F.B.I. are searching for Jessica Flanders after she went missing from K-Mart shortly after four p.m. Sunday.
Flanders is about 4'4" tall and weighs approximately 75 pounds. She requires a wheelchair and police say she has a diminished mental capacity - about that of a teenager.
Law enforcement officials stop short of calling it suspicious. "We need to confirm where she is and what she's doing and who she's with," said Rutland County Sheriff Stephen Bernard.
Bernard says they believe Flanders arranged to meet with someone at the doors of the Diamond Run Mall. But, a lack of exterior surveillance cameras has prevented investigators from confirming that yet. "She would have to get into a vehicle," said Bernard, "we checked with the busses and taxis in town and nobody picked her up."
The search began at the mall and Flanders' Fair Haven residence but now extends into Missouri. Flanders has reportedly made calls to friends but didn't provide details as to who she's with or where they're going. "Her cell phone got turned off and we haven't heard from her since," said Bernard.
However, police say those conversations, GPS data, and social media posts lead them to believe Missouri is the destination. The sheriff also says they think they know who she met though they're not publicly releasing a name Monday evening. He added that Flanders and the unidentified individual have likely known each other for at least a few months.
Bernard could not say if the pair have ever met in-person before.
More than 15 people remain on the case, and say they'll continue working around-the-clock until the search for Jessica is complete. If the person Jessica is with does not pose a potential threat it will be up to her custodians - her mother and stepfather - to decide if she should be brought back and whether to press charges.