Authorities on Tuesday continued their frantic search for a Florida mother who disappeared over a week ago after withdrawing $20 from an ATM.
Stephanie Hollingsworth, 50, left her home around noon on Sept. 25 and drove to a local Bank of America to withdraw $20, the Belle Isle Police Department said. The mother of three then stopped by a Walmart around 2 p.m., where she was caught on store cameras walking through an aisle near the entrance. Belle Isle Police Chief Laura Houston told The Daily Beast on Tuesday that during her brief trip to the superstore, Hollingsworth was caught on camera buying “a small bottle of vodka.”
“She’s a beautiful soul that was dedicated to her family and community,” one family friend told The Daily Beast. “It’s completely out of character for her to just completely disappear without telling anybody.”
The Belle Isle Police Department has launched a massive multi-county search and announced a $5,000 reward for helpful information related to the case. Despite coordinating with the woman’s family, who have created a makeshift “command post” and distributed hundreds of flyers throughout the Orlando area, a police spokesperson told The Daily Beast their office has not yet received any “meaningful leads.”
“I am extremely concerned about her well-being, but we have no idea what happened yet. Did someone accost her? We don’t know. It could be anything,” Houston told The Daily Beast on Tuesday.
Multiple municipalities in Central Florida have joined the search and are hoping to locate the yoga instructor’s silver Chevy Tahoe.
“Right now, we got 50 tips today, so things are moving along, and we have the support from the governor’s office and other Florida counties. So we are hopeful,” Houston said. She added that while Hollingsworth’s husband suspects foul play was involved in his wife’s disappearance, police are “not there yet.”
On Sept. 25, Hollingsworth left her house, which is about 20 minutes outside of Orlando, in her Tahoe and went to the Bank of America drive-thru to withdraw $20 in cash.
“Stephanie took her purse and left her cell phone at the residence,” police said in a Sept. 29 statement, adding that Hollingsworth “suffers from some mental conditions and needs care.”
Houston said that additional footage from Walmart shows Hollingsworth using a $20 bill to purchase a small bottle. Authorities believe the purchase and her hasty departure from home implies she was in an “vulnerable state.”
“We don’t have any more information than that,” her husband, Scott Hollingsworth, told People. “But she couldn’t have made it far with only $20. She hasn’t been seen, and the Tahoe hasn’t been picked up on any intersection or toll road cameras.”
“She basically vanished into thin air. It makes no sense,” he added.
Larry Miles, another family friend, told The Daily Beast that it was completely out of Hollingsworth’s character to leave for several hours without a way to be reached.
Police say surveillance video from the bank does not seem to show Hollingsworth in distress. According to a surveillance video released Monday, Hollingsworth entered an Orlando Walmart around 2 p.m. wearing a face mask and dark clothing and then abruptly walked out. The 50-year-old appeared to be holding something in her hand.
Hollingsworth’s friend said she has a “heart of gold,” and her family is desperate to find her. Since her disappearance, hundreds of community members have helped the Hollingsworth family pass out flyers and conduct searches. Miles added that Hollingsworth was “very spiritual” and “a very strong Christian woman.”
Hollingsworth’s family did not immediately respond to The Daily Beast’s requests for comment.
“She’s got three boys and we just want her back safe,” the friend added.