Police are trying to piece together a puzzling case of a missing Indiana woman who vanished without a trace on the first day on her way to a new job, FOX 59 reports.
Najah Ferrell was prepping in the early morning of March 15, rising at 3 a.m. to get ready for a 5 a.m. shift at a Panera Bread restaurant in Indianapolis, Indiana. It would be her first day of work. Ferrell lives in Avon, Indiana, about 30 miles from her new job.
“She got up for work and told [her fiancé] to get the kids out, because she had to go in,” Ferrell’s mother Paula Gholson told NBC affiliate WTHR. “He said that’s the last time he saw her.”
No one realized that Ferrell hadn’t made it to work at Panera Bread that day. It wasn’t until she failed to pick up her children from school that her family became aware that something was awry.
“I knew then. I said, ‘Something is wrong.’ Because that’s not Najah,” her mother Paula said.
Ferrell was first reported missing to Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department because the family assumed that she went missing at work but then later learned she hadn’t made it there. Her case was then transferred to the Avon Police Department.
“Our investigation started immediately Monday evening,” Police Deputy Chief Brian Nugent told Dateline. “We tried to connect with cell phone providers, and prepared and submitted several search warrants.”
There has been an update in the case. Nugent told FOX59 that Ferrell’s property was found on I-65 near Lafayette Road. No other information was given but a press conference is scheduled for Thursday.
Everyone who knew or came in contact with Ferrell, including her fiancé, was questioned.
“In the absence of any information to suggest that anyone knows where she’s at, foul play is at the forefront of our theories,” Det. Nugent said. “For her to be away this long unexplained, unplanned — foul play is certainly a possibility.”
“We’re using the phrase, ‘It’s like she vanished into thin air,’ but I want to say right here and now: There’s no such thing,” Ferrell’s aunt Rhondel Gowdy told local media. “Somebody knows something. It’s impossible that nobody knows anything.”
“We’re not really learning of anything that led up to this. It’s almost as frustrating as it is inexplicable,” Det. Nugent said. “Everything was normal and then, all of a sudden, she’s gone.”
Ferrell’s car is a 2018 Black Nissan Altima with Indiana license plate XOM936, which is also missing.
“The area that we’re searching [Tuesday] is relevant to a piece of personal property found next to a highway,” Det. Nugent told Dateline.
“We are trying to stay patient with the detectives, because they are working. There’s only so much [Det. Nugent] can say and so much I can do. We don’t want to stop anything that they’re doing,” Ferrell’s younger sister Azaria told Dateline.
“This is a priority for our investigators. This is not something that we take lightly,” Det. Nugent told Dateline. “We are invested with the families 100 percent, and investigators are working around the clock.”
Ferrell is described as 5’4” and weighing about 180 lbs. Crime Stoppers of Indiana is asking anyone with information to call 317-262-TIPS. Callers can remain anonymous.