Dozens of family and friends gathered Wednesday in Bath's Pulteney Park for a candlelight vigil for Bobbie Jo Hatter, the Kanona woman who's been missing for a week.
BATH | Dozens of family and friends gathered Wednesday in Bath’s Pulteney Park for a candlelight vigil for Bobbie Jo Hatter, the Kanona woman who’s been missing for a week.
Huddled in blankets against the bitter cold, they listened to a prayer reading by Pastor Charlie Payne of the Bath Baptist Church, then lit candles for Hatter.
Hatter, 40, has been missing since March 19. She was last seen walking near her residence on Chamberlain Road in Kanona, and had appeared confused and disoriented, according to the Steuben County Sheriff’s Office.
Interviews and a search of the area last week didn’t lead to Hatter being found, but investigators are continuing to follow tips and leads, Undersheriff Jim Allard told The Leader.
The family has different theories about what may have happened to her, said Hatter’s sister, Billie Jo Hitt.
Hitt says her sister had “gone through hell” because of turmoil in her personal life over the past year that included losing her home and being separated from her two boys, both in their early 20’s.
Hitt thinks her sister had a nervous breakdown - which might explain her disoriented state when she disappeared - and wandered off in dangerously cold temperatures. Hitt said it was possible her sister had turned to drugs, but unlikely because she’d been against drug use in the past.
It’s also possible her sister was abducted, Hitt said. She doesn’t think she would have taken off somewhere without telling anybody.
Regardless of what may have happened, the family just wants her back, Hitt said.
“She’s a very loving person,” Hitt said. “She’s my best friend. She’d help out anybody in the world, no matter what.”
Family members have been monitoring a Facebook page where people can leave tips, and are also seeking help from the CUE Center for Missing Persons, a national organization that assists families in such cases.
Hatter’s family and friends are still holding out hope, her sister said.
“We’re not giving up,” she said.