Roanoke Rapids, N.C. — Roanoke Rapids police say they continue to investigate and follow up on leads in the disappearance of a mother of four whose family last saw her six years ago.
Shonda Stansbury was 24 when she last saw her mother, Gloria Bedgood, on Dec. 8, 2006. Bedgood went to police after she went six days without hearing from her daughter.
"I keep saying to myself, 'She's out there, and one day we're going to find her, and she's going to come home,'" Bedgood said Thursday.
Since Stansbury's disappearance, investigators have followed up on tips in both Halifax and Johnston counties, including last year, when divers searched Roanoke Rapids Lake but found nothing.
"We know that the family is hurting," Capt. Andy Jackson with the Roanoke Rapids Police Department said. "I mean, I can see it. Every Christmas rolls around and this family sits there, and they look at an empty place at their dinner table."
Initially, investigators thought Stansbury might have left on her own, but several witnesses reported seeing her beaten and bruised at a local Waffle House on Dec. 9, 2006.
She reportedly hitched a ride to the West Side Grocery on Tenth Street, next to a trailer park she had visited before.
Five days later, a woman called 911, reporting seeing two men chasing a blonde, who she believed was Stansbury, from behind a convenience store off U.S. Highway 158. The woman was screaming for help, the caller told 911, and she wasn't wearing any clothes.
There were no witnesses to corroborate the story, but the sighting led to a massive search of the area, which turned up nothing.
Stansbury's family has struggled ever since with having more questions than they do answers.
"I've followed cars, because it looked like her," her sister, Jackie Stansbury, said. "None of them is her."
The holidays make not knowing much worse.
Her family has taken her photo and made it into an ornament for their Christmas tree. They also set aside Christmas gifts for her each year.
"I hear a lot of songs that remind me of her," Bedgood said. "I just sit and look at her picture and just wish she'd come home."
Shonda Stansbury was last seen wearing blue jeans, a gray blouse and white tennis shoes. She has a heart tattoo on the left side of her chest, a ribbon tattoo on her right calf and her four front teeth were missing.
Anyone with information about the case can contact the Roanoke Rapids Police Department at 252-537-0158.
"Somebody out there knows something," Jackie Stansbury said. "I wish they would come forward."