By Kendall McGee | April 6, 2021 at 1:30 PM EDT – Updated April 6 at 5:54 PM
WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) – Judith Hyder hasn’t been seen since 2015, but work hasn’t stopped to find her.
There’s been renewed emphasis on the case since the governor’s office granted a $5,000 reward for information on her disappearance. Leaders at the Bladen County Sheriff’s Office requested the reward back in November and the state sent the press release extending the reward last week.
The last record anyone has of Hyder was of her leaving her Oliver Lane house and driving her Pontiac G6 to take a friend home. Two hours later, her phone signal was lost. Hyder’s cell phone last pinged a few miles away from Garland, North Carolina. Officials found her car, but have never found Hyder.
There’s been no activity on her social media or bank statements since she vanished and officials haven’t found any proof that she’s still alive. Investigators have a list of “people of interest,” but there have been no arrests in the case.
Officials say she kept to herself, and was a very private person.
Family say she was getting ready to move to a new apartment. She called her daughters every day, loved her grandchildren and enjoyed listening to country music.
”It’s been really hard. I miss my sister every day and it’s just a nightmare. I can’t believe she’s gone, and it’s been five years — we got no answers, no closure,” said Hyder’s sister, Loretta Tyson.
Family members say it’s been a long five years, but the emotions are as fresh as if it happened yesterday.
Judith Hyder’s family hasn’t been able to hold a funeral for her. There’s no grave-site for her children to visit or lay down flowers.
“Over the years, it hasn’t gotten easier. I think we’ve all just, to an extent, gotten numb so we can function during the day, but it’s always there in the back of our minds,” said Hyder’s youngest daughter, Taylor Andrews.
Life though hasn’t stopped for her daughters, who have had to walk through important chapters of their lives without their mother.
“I’ve gone through a pregnancy and having a child without my mom in my life and that’s been a very difficult. I have small kids that will never see their grandmother again,” said Hyder’s oldest daughter Heather Bryant.
The lead investigator over at the Bladen County Sheriff’s office even admits this isn’t a routine case for him.
“This particular case doesn’t get far from my heart. I keep this on my mind; there’s several cases that I have pending and this is one that I’d like to see resolved. I’m hopeful that with this reward maybe someone will come forward,” said Bladen County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Rodney Warwick. “It’s unfortunate this has gone on so long. My heart goes out to the family involved because they do deserve some closure.”
It’s the same hope on the hearts of her family members, that someone will speak up, unlock the mystery and allow this family to finally put Judith Hyder to rest.
“We’re just waiting for that phone call — it’s the worst thing I’ve ever had to go through. I never dreamed this would happen. We just want to know,” added Tyson.
Anyone with any information is asked to call the Bladen County Sheriff’s Office or the SBI.
Copyright 2021 WECT. All rights reserved.