It took several days before anyone realized Frances Wartenburg was missing.
“There was a lot of confusion because we thought she was with her boyfriend and just busy, and her boyfriend thought she had made it back home to us,” Kim Hooter, a close family friend of the Wartenburgs, told Dateline. “After we heard both of us were looking for her and we talked to him, we all knew it was big trouble.”
Frances was last seen on February 22nd, 2015 leaving a birthday party for her cousin’s child in Jefferson, West Virginia. She reportedly went to her boyfriend’s home then left to catch a ride back to her mother’s house in St. Albans, according to her family. That’s when things get fuzzy.
Whether the 33-year-old caught a ride or not is unknown.
“There are a lot of different stories out there,” Sgt. Brian Humphreys told Dateline. “But anytime someone is missing for this length of time, there is cause for concern.”
The Kanawha County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the case. Sgt. Humphreys said they are unable to release any leads at this time as the investigation is ongoing. Officials were able to confirm the last official sighting of Frances was February 22nd.
As the weeks have slowly drifted by, Wartenburg’s family has grown increasingly worried they won’t ever get the answers they need. “It’s gotten really, very rough. My baby is out there and maybe needs help and needs us and we can’t do anything,” said Sandra Wartenburg, France’s mother.
Family members said Frances suffers from bipolar disorder and said that she could possibly be a danger to herself. Frances left her cell phone and clothing at her boyfriend’s home, which signaled to her family that something was really wrong.
“She’s glued to her phone. And now we’re sitting here in limbo, not knowing what to do,” said Kim Hooter. “Her mom wakes up every single day and checks Facebook and sends Frances a message, saying she misses her and loves her. She’s so strong and is so broken and I sit here and watch her do it. We’re desperate for answers and closure.”
Frances Wartenburg is described as 5’3” tall, weighing 135 pounds, with short brown hair and brown eyes. If you have seen Frances any time since February 22nd or have any information that can help in the case, please call the Kanawha County Sheriff’s Office at (304) 357-0169.
You can also submit a tip online anonymously at kanawhasheriff.us/law-enforcement/tips/.
For more information, you can visit the ‘Find Frances Wartenburg’ Facebook page.