CMPD: Woman who is deaf reported missing; last known to be in Burke County

·2 min read

A search is underway Tuesday in Burke County for a missing 67-year-old Charlotte woman who is deaf. She has been missing for two weeks, authorities said.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police said Frances Collett Apperson was last seen leaving her home on North Course Drive on May 17.

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On Monday, CMPD said new information had led detectives to believe that Apperson’s last known location was in the area of Sugar Mountain in Avery County. But deputies then said they found her SUV in a Linville Gorge parking area in Burke County.

Authorities said they pinged her cell phone to find her vehicle.

Apperson’s brother, Tod Collett, told Channel 9′s Dave Faherty that he has already hiked down to the Linville River, looking for his sister.

“We have a lot of family close by, so we had looked everywhere. We just didn’t come to this spot,” Collett said.

Each year, tens of thousands of people visit Linville Gorge, many of them stopping at the Linville Falls.

“Most of the visitors who come here stick to the main trails. They’re somewhat easy to navigate but if you get off these main trails it gets very easy to get lost,” Wes Taylor with the Burke Rescue Squad said.

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Apperson’s SUV was in one of the parking areas off old NC 105. It appeared to have been there for some time, as it was covered with pollen and leaves.

One of the locations where authorities said Apperson may be was the area near Hawksbill Mountain, and family members said Apperson had hiked that before but it is miles from Linville Gorge.

Rescue crews are using drones to search the area, going off the trails into areas where there are cliffs and steep drop-offs leading to the Linville River. The fire marshal said he’s prepared to search until it gets dark and will return in the morning.

Apperson is 5 feet, 2 inches tall and weighs 130 pounds. She has brown shoulder-length hair and brown eyes. Police said she is deaf and communication may be difficult.

People are asked to call 911 if they have information on where Apperson may be.

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