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Police Mystified by Student's Disappearance

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Cindy Wheeler, missing since last Monday
PEMBROKE — Police and residents of Pembroke are working hard at trying to solve a mystery surrounding the disappearance of a24-year-oldUNC-Pembroke student.

Last week Cindy Wheeler failed to come home from visiting friends oncampus, and the unfolding tale of her disappearance has gotten stranger bythe day.

Police say they are no closer to finding her than they were thispast weekend. Saturday, deputies were told of a car that had been found ina remote section of the county. The car turned out to be Wheeler's, butinvestigators got few clues from the car. They had no better luck with anair search Monday, so they're hoping the last people who saw her willinspire someone to come forward.

Patricia Hammonds was the last person to see Wheeler on campus. Shesaid Wheeler left and told her she was coming right back.

Wheeler's roommate and longtime friend Stephanie Steel says she knewsomething was wrong from the start.

Wheeler is a criminal justice major at UNC Pembroke. Friends say thejunior is a very happy and content person who makes friends witheveryone. That in itself has brought fear to the people on campus.

That fear became greater Saturday when deputies discovered whatwas left of Wheeler's car. When it was found off of a small dirt road, itwas riddled with bullet holes and badly burned.

Hammonds says many of Wheeler's friends are just hoping it'snot too late.

Friends say Wheeler didn't have any recent arguments with friends orfamily. In fact, they say, she was very excited about a newborn niece.The Robeson County Sheriff's Department searched the area wherethe car was found Tuesday, but at this point all they'll say is that theysuspect foul play.

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