Friends of a 39-year-old woman who has been missing since earlier this week are appealing for help locating her.
Family members last saw Holly Fischer on Monday, when she left her parents' home in Knox County, Tenn., presumably for her home in Charlotte, N.C. On Wednesday, her roommate called Fischer's parents and told them Fischer hadn't returned. The concerned parents then contacted Knox County authorities and reported her missing.
"We are deeply worried about her," Fischer's friend Larisa Markanian told The Huffington Post. "She would not have taken off without contacting one of us. Something is terribly wrong."
Investigators learned Fischer last used her bank card Monday afternoon, at a convenience store in Newport, Tenn. The store is situated along Interstate 40, her usual route of travel when visiting her parents. There has been no bank activity since, police said.
Fischer's cell phone records indicate her phone pinged a tower on Thursday, in a mountainous area along N.C. 16 and the Blue Ridge Parkway, about 100 miles north of Charlotte in Ashe County, the county sheriff's office said.
Using the cellphone data, police focused their search on Ashe and Wilkes counties. Local law enforcement officials, along with a North Carolina Highway Patrol helicopter unit, spent three days combing the area.
Authorities were unable to locate Fischer or her car and suspended the search late Friday.
"The search ... has been conducted for three days [and] all areas have been thoroughly searched that we believe she may be," Ashe County Sheriff James Williams said in a press release. He said there was "no reason to suspect foul play or rule out foul play."
According to the missing person report, Fischer's father said his daughter was emotional and upset when she left his home because of a divorce she is going through. Her father said he contacted Fischer's estranged husband, but the man said he had not seen her since she left home.
Fischer's parents own a condominium in West Jefferson, N.C., but neighbors told police they had not seen her and there were no signs that she had stopped at the condo, police said.
Liz Stafford, a longtime friend of Fischer, said she does not believe her friend would have gone willingly to the condominium or the mountainous area where her phone pinged.
"I've known Holly for 20 years, and she doesn't make decisions on a whim," Stafford told The Charlotte Observer. "She was last seen in Newport. Clearly, she was headed for Charlotte. If she had planned to go to Ashe County, she would have gone a different route. If she were abducted, however, then anything is possible."
Markanian said she also suspects foul play in her friend's disappearance and is concerned authorities have been too focused on the cell phone ping instead of other signs of trouble that she said have been evident in her friend's life.
"Those of us very close to Holly feel police are not looking at all angles," Markanian said. "She was under duress. Before she left her parents, she received a message from her ex that he wanted her to return home, 'effective immediately,' to turn over her car. That text upset her. She was angry and frustrated. There is a lot more history to this and that needs to be looked at."
Markanian said she has been in contact with authorities in North Carolina, who directed her to the police in Tennessee. She said officials there have yet to return her calls.
"None of us -– her close friends -- have been interviewed by the police," Markanian said. "None of those that have a great deal of information about what has been going on have been contacted, so we're are at a loss, as the time is ticking by."
Fischer is described as a white female, about 5 feet 10, 140 pounds, with blond hair. She was wearing a white blouse, blue jean shorts, and sandals. She was last seen driving a silver 2004 Infiniti FX35, with North Carolina license tags XYH-6678.
Fischer's friends have launched the "Find Holly Fischer" Twitter page to share information. Discovery Communications, where Fischer was previously employed, has been helping get the word out about her disappearance.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Ashe County Sheriff's Office at 336-846-5633.
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