Five months have passed since Parris Hopson left her grandparents’ house in Massillon, Ohio on Christmas Day in 2019 to go for a walk. She never returned.
Her mother, Rochelle Arnold-Hopson, told Dateline her anguish grows the longer Parris is missing, but said she refuses to give up.
“I just don’t want to lose hope,” Rochelle said. “I just want to know that she’s OK.”
Parris, who lives in Columbus, Ohio, with her mother, walked away from the Christmas Day family gathering at her grandparents’ house on Shriver Avenue in Massillon. She was 26 years old at the time of her disappearance.
Rochelle told Dateline Parris told the family she was going to walk to “clear her head.” Her mother, who was also at the family gathering that day, added that Parris had not been acting like her normal outgoing self, and had trouble sleeping recently.
“She was just going to walk to a park that’s nearby,” Rochelle said. “I texted her and told her not to worry about anything. Just get some fresh air. Just pray. But I never got a response. And when she didn’t return later that evening, that’s when I started to really worry.”
Rochelle discovered her daughter’s cell phone was left behind hooked up to a charger in her vehicle, which was parked at her grandparents’ house. Her debit card and driver’s license were also inside the car, she said.
“I know she needed some time away and that’s why she went for a walk,” Rochelle told Dateline. “But for her not to come back, to leave her stuff behind, it makes no sense. It makes me think something really bad happened to her.”
Massillon Police Department Detective Jason Gohlike told NBC affiliate WLWT they are continuing to investigate Parris’s disappearance, but have not received many tips or leads recently.
According to a press release from the Ohio Attorney General, authorities do not suspect foul play, but say they are concerned for Parris’s safety.
Searches by both law enforcement and the community have been conducted in the Massillon area, but no trace of Parris has been found.
Rochelle told Dateline she was asked about her daughter’s mental health, but assured them Parris did not have any mental health or drug issues.
“She’s extremely intelligent and has many goals in life,” Rochelle said. “And she was determined to find out what happened to her brother, Perry.”
Perry Hopson Jr., Parris’s brother and Rochelle’s only other child, suffered life-threatening injuries in a car crash on June 17, 2017. According to the local Canton, Ohio newspaper, CantonRep.com, an unidentified person was driving Perry’s Oldsmobile Alero and passed another vehicle in a no-passing zone on Southway Street SW in Perry Township, Ohio, causing a head-on collision. The driver fled the scene and has never been identified.
Perry remained on life support in the hospital for over a year until his death in April 2018. He was 23 years old and had a long-time girlfriend and two children.
“Parris was determined to find out what happened to her brother,” Rochelle said. “For our family and for her niece and nephew. She would never walk away from them.”
Rochelle describes Parris as an excellent writer with a bright future. She had previously worked as an event planner and was working in an administrative position with Nationwide in the Columbus area at the time of her disappearance.
Rochelle told Dateline that the community in Massillon, where Parris grew up, has shown up by the hundreds to search for her and show support for their family. Friends of the family created a Facebook page “Help Find Parris Hopson” with the hope of bringing in tips.
“We just want some answers,” Rochelle said. “Something to help us find out where she is. Someone to come forward with some sort of information. I just don’t want to lose hope.”
Parris is described as being 5’2” tall and weighing 220 lbs. She has brown hair and brown eyes. She was last seen wearing blue jeans, black boots, a burgundy shirt, and was carrying a black purse.
Anyone with information about Parris’s whereabouts is asked to call the Massillon Police Department at 330-830-1735.