Hattie Gertrude Brown will have been missing for six years this Saturday. She would be 54 now, and her family and friends continue to pray the mystery surrounding her disappearance will one day be solved.

This year her family plans to remember their loved one on the sixth anniversary of her disappearance by asking for continued prayers from the community.

Brown 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 six years, that someone will come forward with information,” she added. “It’s really hard for us to believe she has been gone this long.”

Six years have passed since any family member has spoken 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 had 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 Highways 501 and 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 in 2009, 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, several of her brothers have passed away. Andrew, who was 59, died five years ago on July 31, and Adolphus died in 2013 on May 25 at the age of 70.

Diane said not a day has gone by that she hasn’t thought 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.

And anyone with information about the whereabouts of her sister is asked to contact the Appomattox Division of the Virginia State Police toll-free in Virginia at 1-800-552-0962 or at (454) 352-7128. The state police also may be contacted by email at Troy.LaRue@vsp.virginia.gov.

Those with information about this case also can contact the Halifax County Sheriff’s Office at 434-476-3334.

Anyone wishing to make a donation to assist in the search for the missing woman can make checks out to the Help Find Hattie Brown Fund and send to P.O. Box 61, Clover VA 24534 or call her sister, Diane Brown, for more information at 434-454-7612.

Paula I. Bryant is the editor of The Gazette-Virginian. Contact her at pbryant@gazettevirginian.com.