A reward has been increased to up to $7,000 for information that leads to the whereabouts of Echo Lloyd, a Missouri woman who has been missing since Mother’s Day.
For seven months, Echo’s daughter, Kelsey Smith, has been desperately searching for her and told Dateline she misses her every day.
“She’s not just my mother,” Kelsey said. “She’s my best friend.”
Kelsey told Dateline she last spoke to her mother on the evening of May 9, 2020, the day before Mother’s Day. The next day, she drove to her house in Edwards, Missouri to deliver a Mother’s Day card and flowers. But her mother didn’t appear to be home.
“Her car wasn’t in the driveway and the door was locked,” Kelsey explained. “So I left the card and flowers on the back porch and wrote her a note telling her to call me.”
But Kelsey never received a call from her mother.
On Monday, Kelsey tried calling her mother on both her cell and house phones. And continued calling every morning of every day that week. But the calls went straight to voicemail.
“It was just odd,” Kelsey said. “When the house phone went to voicemail, I knew something wasn’t right.”
On Friday, May 15, Kelsey drove back over to her mother’s house. But this time, her mother’s locked car was in the driveway.
“I started banging on the front door and the back… I was banging on the whole house, hoping she was inside and that she’d hear me,” Kelsey said. “But no one was there.”
Kelsey said she also checked her mother’s “she shed,” where Echo could often be found working on various projects.
“She had been renovating the house,” Kelsey explained. “She’s an artist and would get really creative with whatever home project she was working on. She was redoing the living room at the time. She really wanted to make the place her own - and prove that she could do it on her own.”
Kelsey told Dateline her mother and stepfather had amicably separated a couple of years ago and that Echo had moved into the house that was on 10 acres of land near a lake.
“She loved the lake life,” Kelsey said. “So it was the perfect place for her new life. It was a fresh start and I know she was happy here.”
After searching the property, Kelsey went to the neighbor’s house for answers, but said he told her that he hadn’t seen Echo. Now even more worried about her mother, Kelsey broke one of the windows to the house with a rock and climbed inside.
“I could tell someone else had been there - someone, but not my mother,” Kelsey said. “It wasn’t ransacked, but there was a pile of trash… and food with mold. That’s not like my mother at all. She’s OCD. She wouldn’t have left the house like this.”
In Echo’s room, Kelsey found her mother’s cigarettes and lighter on the nightstand. Below was her mother’s purse, her wallet, ID and some cash still inside.
“What I couldn’t find was my mom’s cell phone, her medications, her pistol and her car keys,” Kelsey told Dateline. “I called the police right away. And then I went outside to wait and started calling out, ‘Mom, Mommy, Echo’ - I was just willing her to appear at that moment.”
Kelsey said that she and her family fear foul play is involved in Echo’s disappearance and have no reason to believe that she would walk away from her family, especially with no form of identification or money.
“She wouldn’t just walk away from her family,” Kelsey said tearfully. “My son was just one month old when she disappeared. She loves her grandbabies. She’d never leave us, and she’d never leave her grandbabies.”
Echo’s disappearance was initially investigated by the Benton County Sheriff’s Office. Benton County Sheriff Eric Knox told NBC’s affiliate KY3 in July that based on what they found, it did not seem as though Echo has the resources to be on her own. He added that there had been no activity on her cell phone or bank account. She had not refilled any of the medications that she takes regularly.
“She’s on several medications that she does not have with her,” Knox told KY3. “Nor does she have her billfold or her car. She is absolutely missing without a trace.”
Searches were conducted but without a specific area to pinpoint, the search has stalled over the months.
Kelsey told Dateline there were sightings of her mother on the day she went missing, possibly at a Dollar General, but said there are discrepancies as to the location at which she was last seen. Kelsey said she believes her mother had returned home after she left the flowers on the porch because her mother’s car was in the driveway and Kelsey had found a Walmart receipt in the house dated May 10 with her mother’s signature. She added that all evidence has been turned over to the authorities.
The investigation has since been handed over to the Missouri State Highway Patrol Missing Persons Clearinghouse, which has posted Echo’s information on its website.
Kelsey and her family have set up a Facebook page “Bring Echo Home” and a website www.bringechohome.com to try to spread the word about Echo, with the hope of finding someone who knows something about her disappearance.
“We want to keep telling her story and getting her picture out there and just hope someone recognizes her face and can point us in the right direction,” Kelsey said. “Any bit of information helps.”
With Missouri entering a cold winter and with hunting season in full swing, volunteer searches for Echo have stalled, but Kelsey said she hopes to get back to it after the new year.
Thanks to people in the community, and around the country, the reward for information that leads to Echo’s whereabouts has increased to up to $7,000. According to the family’s GoFundMe page, donations are also being accepted for efforts in the search, including reward money, making posters, and other search fees.
“We’re not giving up,” Kelsey said. “But we need people to know her story. And to help us come out and search. We want people to know what a beautiful and wonderful person she is, and that she didn’t deserve this.”
Kelsey told Dateline their family isn’t giving up hope, but said it’s tough as the months pass without any answers.
“You want to hold on to hope that she is safe,” Kelsey said. “But after so many months, it’s really hard to keep that hope alive. But we’re never going to stop fighting for her.”
Echo is 5’4” tall, weighs between 100 and 110 lbs, and has brown hair and brown eyes. She has a “Let it Be” tattoo, with birds on her forearm. She also has the names of her four children, Kelsey, Kace, Kaitlyn, and Kylie, tattooed on her wrist.
If you have any information on Echo’s whereabouts, please contact the Missouri State Highway Patrol’s Missing Persons Clearinghouse at (573) 526-6178 or the Benton County Sheriff’s Office at (660) 438-6135.