- Last Updated on 07:46 AM 09/18/13
- BY Paula I. Bryant
Hattie Gertrude Brown would turn 53 Saturday.
This year her family plans to remember their loved one on her birthday with little public attention, but they are asking for continued prayers from the community.
Brown has been missing for more than four years since she disappeared without a trace in the early morning hours of Saturday, May 16, 2009.
The charred remains of her 2003 Volkswagen Jetta were found on a Virgilina farm later that summer.
Brown was 48 at the time of her disappearance.
Still, her family says they have not given up hope.
“It’s been long and painful, but we’re hanging in there, keeping the faith and taking one day at a time,” said Hattie’s older sister, Diane Brown.
“We’re still hoping, even though it’s been four years, that someone will come forward with information,” she added. “It’s really hard for us to believe she has been gone that long.”
More than four years have passed since the family last spoke with Hattie, and her siblings continue to miss her.
Following her disappearance back in May, 2009, there had been no trace of the missing woman or her car until Tuesday, July 7, 2009, when a farmer cutting hay discovered the charred remains of the Volkswagen Jetta on farmland near Virgilina.
The farmer was working on his property in the southeastern corner of Halifax County when he came upon an abandoned vehicle behind an old barn. The vehicle had been completely destroyed by fire.
Special Agent Troy LaRue of the Virginia State Police said the farmer found the burned-out Volkswagen and told his son. They contacted the Halifax County Sheriff’s Office who then contacted Agent LaRue and the Appomattox Division Office of the state police.
It appeared the car was burned at the site where it was found and had been at the site for some time.
State police, the sheriff’s office personnel and South Boston Police have been searching for Hattie Brown and her vehicle since they were last seen May 16, 2009 at a Sheetz gas station at the intersection of Route 501 and Route 58 in Riverdale.
A video camera captured the woman and her car at the gas station at approximately 2:33 a.m. Investigators found that she was accompanied at the gas station by her nephew, who law enforcement officers at that time described as a “person of interest” in the case.
Since her disappearance more than four years ago, Brown’s family has offered a cash reward for their loved one’s safe return.
Hattie Brown is a black female with brown eyes and black, shoulder-length hair. She is approximately 5 feet 4 inches tall, 155 pounds, and was last seen wearing a sleeveless top and pants with side stripes. The investigation into her disappearance also indicates that she left her residence without her purse or critical medication.
Since she went missing in 2009, two of her brothers have passed away. Andrew, who was 59, died three years ago on July 31, and Adolphus died this year on May 25 at the age of 70.
Diane said not a day goes by that she doesn’t think of her missing sister.
“We won’t ever give up until we find out what happened to her,” she said. “With God’s grace, we know one day there will be an answer.”
But until that day, Brown said she covets prayers of the community on her missing sister’s behalf.
Those with information about this case also can contact the Halifax County Sheriff’s Office at 434-476-3334, or the South Boston Police Department at 434-575-4271.