'She needs to be found’: Texas EquuSearch teams search for missing Indiana mother Brittany Hammond
SWITZERLAND COUNTY, In. (FOX19) - The search for Brittany Hammond, who vanished from Switzerland County, Indiana, remains underway nearly a year after her disappearance in December 2018.
Texas EquuSearch, a non-profit that helps law enforcement track down missing people, has been helping Hammond’s family and investigators look for the missing mother of five.
Texas EquuSearch volunteers gave FOX19 NOW a behind-the-scenes look at their efforts to find Hammond during their latest search on November 2.
David Rader, director of the Midwest/Ohio Chapter of Texas EquuSearch, says their volunteers, made up of doctors, psychologists and technology experts, among others, are trained ahead of the searches.
“It’s been hard to get through these 11 months, just thinking about Brittany every day and just trying to make it through every day," Hammond’s mother, Melinda Lewis, said.
The 30-year-old has not been heard from since 2018. A friend says Hammond got into a car with someone Dec. 12, supposedly to go to the store.
“Said she’d be back in an hour, and that’s the last anybody had seen her," Lewis said.
When Hammond did not return home or call her loved ones, her family members knew something was wrong.
Her disappearance has stumped and stunned her relatives, who said they have no idea what happened.
“It’s just a shame. It’s just heartbreaking. It’s just… they don’t deserve any of this," Rader said.
Rader explains they have searched for Hammond and her missing cell phone three times. The latest search took them to the Florence, Indiana area. About 70 volunteers, made up of Texas EquuSearch crews and members of the public, searched for Hammond, alongside four canine teams.
“We’re really hoping that we can bring closure and bring this to an end so that she can get justice," Texas EquuSearch volunteer Genova Foster said.
The hope is to find Hammond alive, but Rader says there is a chance she may not be.
“I think we’re looking for a body, but again, I’m always optimistic as far as ‘what if," Rader said. "The information that we have in the investigation, I think that we’re looking for remains at this point in time.”
Volunteers and dog teams spent hours on foot canvassing the Florence area that November Saturday, using tools like metal detectors and sticks. After a long day of work, they did not locate Hammond.
“It’s a positive that we know that she’s not in that area," Foster said.
Every search, Rader said, is a move in the right direction, as it brings them one step closer to bringing Hammond home.
“Her children miss her, and we appreciate anybody’s prayers in helping to finally bring her home," Lewis said.
Hammond was last seen in the Patriot, Indiana area. Her family said she changed her hair color quite a bit, but when she was last seen, her hair was red.
If you have information on Hammond’s disappearance, call the Switzerland County Sheriff’s Office.
Her family has a “Brittany Hammond Missing” Facebook page focused on Hammond’s disappearance.
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