Despite doubts, mother continues search for daughter

By BRENT ENGEL
Hannibal Courier-Post
Posted Dec 02, 2009 @ 10:00 PM
Hannibal, MO —

Christina Whittaker’s mother had doubts Wednesday, but any glimmer of hope was better than nothing.
Cindy Young continued the search for her missing 21-year-old daughter, even as authorities said they had no hard evidence to prove a waitress saw Whittaker over the weekend at a restaurant in Creve Coeur, Ill.
“Until I see her with my own two eyes or hear her voice, I’m not going to believe it myself,” Young said.
In an interview Tuesday with the Courier-Post, waitress Beth Taylor said she was “110 percent sure” that she served Whittaker between 4:30 and 5 a.m. Sunday at Raedene’s Country Cafe.
Taylor said Whittaker’s red hair had been darkened, but that her physical features matched a police photo. Other restaurant workers gave similar statements to authorities.
Taylor said Whittaker came in by herself, used a restaurant telephone and left without ordering.
Taylor, who later met with Young and other family members, said she last saw Whittaker walking down the street across from the cafe. Taylor declined to discuss the case Wednesday.
Young said a dog owned by Wesley Neff of Northeast Missouri K9 Search and Rescue may have picked up Whittaker’s scent near the cafe.
Young and others continued making contacts and handing out fliers Wednesday in the Creve Coeur, Peoria and Pekin areas.
Young has consistently said that her daughter rarely was out of contact and did not like being away from her six-month-old daughter.
Whittaker had not renewed a prescription for bi-polar medication since she disappeared after leaving a downtown Hannibal bar alone on Nov. 13.
Young doesn’t believe her daughter would just take off, but admitted “anything’s possible.”
“We don’t know what’s in her head,” she said.
Hannibal police issued a statement Wednesday that the department had “been receiving numerous inquiries regarding” the Courier-Post’s interview with Taylor.
As the newspaper reported Tuesday, Hannibal police had contacted Peoria area authorities early in the investigation after Whittaker’s family said the missing woman might have gone to Central Illinois.
The statement described how Hannibal detectives had contacted “the person who reported seeing” Whittaker, but that “neither the investigation by Peoria area authorities nor that of the Hannibal police detectives had yielded positive results.”
Hannibal investigators “are in daily contact with the family and discuss with them any developments in the case,” according to the statement.
“All leads or information with any potential element of believability are followed up on” but “the fictional and baseless leads and rumors grow exponentially,” police wrote.
The baseless leads “tend to hamper investigations such as this one” as well as adding to the emotional “unrest of the family concerned,” police wrote.

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