A year later: Vigil planned for missing woman

Published 3:00 am Thursday, July 20, 2017

A year after Lelia Faulkner disappeared, the family is holding a candlelight prayer vigil on Friday to bring awareness in the community and offer prayers to find out what happened to her.

“We want to bring awareness that there is a young woman missing in the community and we need all the prayers we can get,” said Susan Faulkner, Lelia’s mother. “The main thing is to get more people praying for her. We feel like prayer is the most powerful thing.”

Faulkner vanished last year on the Fourth of July, leaving behind a daughter and two parents desperate to find her.

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Faulkner left no trace of where she may have gone. She also has no driver’s license or vehicle.

Sheriff Russell Thomas said their still investigating the case, which they are still treating as a missing persons case.

“We don’t have any new leads,” Thomas said. “We’re continuing the investigation. We’ve interviewed a lot of people and performed some polygraphs.”

Leila’s father Ricky Faulkner said that she had run off in the past, but that she’s never done anything like this.

“She’s never not called her daughter on her birthday before,” Faulkner said. Another birthday has now passed, with still no call.

Private investigation firm Halos Investigations is managing the case for the family, helping spread the word about the reward money, offering an anonymous tip line and circulating missing persons flyers.

Halos has deemed that foul play is suspected in the case.

“Basically due to the fact that she’s not touched any of her money,” said Barbara Hastings, case manager. “She’s had no phone communications, no social media — nothing.”

The family is offering a $7,500 reward for information leading to finding Lelia. Hastings clarified that money will not be given until Lelia is actually found.

“The reward money is strictly for someone that can tell is where she can be found,” Hastings said. “We’ve had two people who have promised things to the family trying to exchange that information for money. That not the way it works. If we find her, then they get their money. It’s not for people to say you can look over here or over there.”

The prayer vigil will begin at 8 p.m. with singing. Lelia’s uncle Curtis Faulkner, pastor at Harmony Baptist Church, will then lead the prayer vigil, which will conclude at 9:30 p.m.