Group of women working to solve Sumter Cold Case

Friends of Barbara Nave meet once a month to try to solve her disappearance.

It's far from a book club, a group of women are trying to solve the disappearance of their friend, Barbara Nave. The ladies meet once a month to discuss her disappearance and go over evidence.

"Barbara deserves to have some type of resolution," says Kathleen Kreklau, a friend of Nave's.

The 80-year-old woman has been missing since early February of 2017; Kreklau was one of the first to report her missing.

"I was actually to the house three times that day before I called law enforcement," she explains, "So I ran an errand and came back and then thought 'nope. I need to call law enforcement.'"

"It was shocking, more than anything else," says Maria Rodgers, who has known Nave for more than 20 years, "There was no reason for her to have simply vanished in the way that she did."

Maria and Kathleen didn't know each other before Barbara vanished but became friends after and formed the group to try to find her.

"We found out Barbara had quite a few traffic violations," Kreklau laughs.

C.S. Bonner of the Sumter County Sheriff's Office is the lead investigator on the case.

"I definitely wish everyone had friends like this," says Bonner, who meets with the women, when he can, to update them.

"It doesn't look good but I still want to have hope and find her living in the Bahamas somewhere, drinking drinks or something," the detective tells the group. They get a good laugh out of it.

Bonner tells WACH FOX News that he's spent countless hours on the case.

"I have a picture at my desk so every time I come into work and before I go home, I see Msiss Barbara Nave."

According to Bonner, a construction crew working on Nave's home and a neighbor were the last to see her, walking into the woods behind her house.

They told investigators that she was looking for one of her dogs.

Deputies performed polygraphs on several people, including those who saw her last, but the results were always negative.

"That's the great mystery. I can't think of anyone who would harm her," says Bonner.

Bonner is also a pilot for the sheriff's office. He told the women that he still flies over those woods, looking for Barbara.

"That's very heartening for us to know that," says Rodgers.

Bonner thinks he will find Nave alive, "It's extremely frustrating but there's a lot of hope."

Both Bonner and Barbara's friends say she was still in good health when she disappeared, so they don't think she simply wandered off.

"She was working on her second PH.D so there was nothing wrong with her mind," Kreklau explains the advanced degree would have been in Women's Studies.

Nave's bank accounts also haven't been touched.

"If she was on the property, her dogs would have been with her. If she went somewhere, she would have taken her purse so it just doesn't make any sense," says Kreklau, "We miss our friend and we want to know."

At the time of her disappearance, Barbara Nave was working at Continental Tire in Sumter, where she taught English to German workers.

If you know anything about her disappearance, call the Sumter County Sheriff's Office at 803-436-2000.

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