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Son of missing woman speaks out on unusual disappearance

Barbara Nave

Columbia, S.C. --The search continues for an 80-year-old Sumter woman who went missing in February, and family members are still searching for answers.


Barbara Nave was last seen at her home on South Tondaleia Drive on Thursday, Feb. 9.

Her family was at her house on Wednesday handling her affairs. Her son, Paul Nave, says that the last time he saw her, they were celebrating her birthday and this past Christmas that she had to miss with them.

"We had a great time together," said Nave. "We did a birthday cake and some Christmas gifts together so that was pretty much the last time we did anything with her. I'm happy for that."

Authorities have diligently been searching for Barbara Nave, including utilizing search dogs, helicopters, and divers to search the local bodies of water. Their efforts have turned up very little in what they say is an unusual case.

"Usually there is some indication of where they might’ve gone," said Deputy Ken Bell with the Sumter Sheriff's Department. "With this one, there is absolutely no indication."

Authorities says what she left behind indicates that she most likely was not leaving for any reason, whether it be on errands or on a vacation.

"It's really puzzling because she left her dogs in the house, her purse, had little bit of money in her purse, her keys and personal belongings were in the home," said Bell. "So, that told us she left thinking she'd be right back."

Brenda Nave worked at Continental, teaching the American language to German workers. She also was working on obtaining her PhD in Human Studies.

"It's very odd; it just doesn't make sense," said Paul Nave. "It's not like a runaway teenager that's upset with something. She just isn't there anymore, without explanation."

SLED has now been called in to help investigate. Anyone with information is asked to call 436-2000 or Crime Stoppers at 436-2178.

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