New Jersey woman, child vanish while driving through Virginia
RUTHER GLEN, Va. (WTVR) -– A woman traveling with her 5-year-old great-granddaughter was last heard from on Saturday, Dec. 24, not long after she stopped at a gas station in Caroline County.
Family members have filed a missing person report for 71-year-old Barbara Briley and her great-granddaughter LaMyra Briley, and have also contacted the FBI.
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The two were driving from New Jersey to the town of Morven in Anson County, North Carolina, a route Barbara's nieces said she has driven for almost 35 years.
Relatives said Barbara first contacted them at 5:30 p.m. on Christmas Eve, when she stopped at an Exxon on Rogers Clark Boulevard in Ruther Glen.
A clerk, Joanna Strange, said that she spoke with Barbara, who asked for the address of the Exxon. She needed help using the map on her phone, Strange said.
The Exxon clerk said that Barbara was in the store around 30 minutes and that the child was out in the car.
She said she did a double-take when she saw the woman on the news today.
"I was hoping she made it safely and now I hear this story of the poor woman missing with her great-granddaughter," Strange said.
But after seeking someone's help, Barbara still didn't get too far. According to her son and daughter, she was still stuck in traffic, around 8 p.m., in Caroline County.
She should have arrived by 11 p.m., the family said. When they tried to contact her at 10 p.m., they said the phone went straight to voicemail. Now the phone company said they can't track the phone because it is either off or powered down.
The family said they have now driven just about every possible route from the Charlotte area to New Jersey, looking for signs of Barbara and LaMyra. They have asked travelers to contact authorities with any information they can recall from that night if they saw a struggle or a disabled vehicle.
Barbara is a retired transit driver, her family said.
"She's been driving for years, that was her job, she knows what she should've done if she was tired, this is just not normal for us to not hear from her," her family said.
She has no history of medical issues either.
Barbara was driving a silver Toyota Rav 4 with New Jersey tag C80-ELS.
Barbara is African-American, 5 feet, 5 inches tall and weighs 215 pounds.
LaMyra, the 5-year-old, was last seen wearing gray sweat pants and a gray camouflage sweat hoodie.