On Thursday, over 20 volunteers, many of whom did not know Claudine Jaquier Gifford, held a search party near Windmill Point to find her.
The party met up at 5 p.m., searched several areas that included Henry’s Island and concluded their search when darkness fell.
Volunteers split up into smaller groups and examined tire tracks, footprints and cleared trails in the woods.
They asked nearby residents if they had seen Claudine, showing them a flyer and sharing with them her physical description: 5′ 4″ in height and 112 lbs. with wavy sandy blond/brown hair and brown eyes, her outfit being a multicolored tank top, blue jeans and sandals at the time of her disappearance.
No one with whom our group interacted had seen her, and no definitive evidence was turned up that day.
But the search efforts continue.
The “BRING Claudine HOME” Facebook page created Tuesday night has been continuously posting updates of the latest efforts to help locate Claudine, who was reportedly last seen Sunday night leaving the Tiki Bar at Windmill Point in the company of a man.
Friends, family and volunteers are putting out flyers in the Lancaster County area to increase public awareness of Claudine’s disappearance and facilitate information regarding her whereabouts.
Page administrators have asked Lancaster County landowners to please search their property and thanked the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office, which has expanded its efforts to locate Claudine.
Susan Morris Page, who with Ana Carrillo brought together the search party, described her friend Claudine as sweet, gentle, punctual.
The people who came to look for her on Thursday found out about her disappearance on social media and offered their assistance. Dalton Howard, a young volunteer first responder, led one of the search groups with his Pitbull, Avery, at point. Dawn Cockrell and kids joined the search party because, in her words, “I’m a Mom, I’m a daughter, I’m a sister.” She wanted to come out and find out what was going on and do what she and her kids could to help. Zachary Halstead came to search after finding out about the case through friend and fellow volunteer Shawn Morton, who noted he would want someone to look for his family if they went missing.
According to the sheriff’s office, ground and air search teams on Wednesday began working in the area of Windmill Point proper north towards White Stone. On Thursday, the operation expanded to include shoreline and shallow water searches to include the creeks on the bay side and river side from Windmill Point north.
The Virginia Marine Police and Virginia State Police are assisting in the search efforts.
On an aside, the sheriff’s office dispelled reports of a body being found in the Weems area of Lancaster County.
Dive teams on Thursday worked on an unrelated case in the Greenvale Creek area to recover stolen property.
“We happen to have two related incidents in and around the local waters at the same time,” Captain Martin Shirilla said in a July 10 media release. “The Greenvale Creek operation has nothing to do with the missing person case.”
More to come from the Northern Neck News as this story develops.