CRIME
01/24/2014 05:19 pm ET Updated Feb 01, 2014

Leanne Bearden Mysteriously Disappears After Traveling Around The World

https://Facebook.com/ourfriendleannehechtbeard

Family members are searching for Leanne Hecht Bearden, a 33-year-old woman who finished a trip around the world only to disappear while visiting relatives in Texas.

Bearden was staying with her in-laws near San Antonio last week, following a nearly two-year trip she took around the world with her husband. On Jan. 17, she went out for a hike and never returned. Police, search-and-rescue crews and the Texas Rangers have all come up empty in their search for the woman, according to Chris Busch, a close family friend.

"The area out there is surrounded by very rocky and rugged terrain," Busch told The Huffington Post on Friday. "There are caves, cliffs and all sorts of other things."

The Garden Ridge Police Department is leading the investigation in Bearden's disappearance. According to a spokesperson, authorities have "no indication at this time that this is criminal in nature."

Busch said it would be "out of character" for Bearden to take off. Instead, family and friends believe something happened to her that is preventing her from returning.

"The options go from a twisted ankle to a snake bite," he said. "Is it possible she was abducted? Yeah. There were two attacks on women recently in the area. The police are looking into those. From our standpoint, we are just out there trying to cover as much ground as possible."

Mysanantonio.com reports Bearden, the youngest of four children, graduated from Roswell High School in Georgia and attended the University of Georgia, where she received a degree in marketing. Following college graduation, a new job took her to Denver, Colo.

Her husband, Josh Bearden, graduated from Cole High School at Fort Sam Houston in 1992. He attended Texas A&M, where he received a degree in marketing. Following graduation, he, too, moved to Denver.

Busch told HuffPost the couple met through mutual friends and dated for about a year before they married. It was after their union that they decided to travel the world -- a trip they blogged about and finished just prior to visiting Texas.

"They visited 58 countries in 22 months," Busch said. "It was a lifelong dream of theirs."

Upon their return, the couple planned to visit with Josh Bearden's family before settling back down in the Denver area.

According to Busch, a fundraiser is being held in Denver tonight in hopes of raising enough funds to hire a private investigator to look into the case. For more information on the fundraiser, or to donate funds online, visit the "Our Friend Leanne Hecht Bearden" Facebook page or Findleannebearden.com.

Leanne Bearden is described as 5 feet 2 inches tall, 100 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes. She has two piercings on her left ear: one on the bottom and a small loop at the top. She was last seen wearing jeans and hiking shoes.

Anyone with information on Leanne Bearden's whereabouts is asked to call the Garden Ridge Police Department at (210) 651-6441 or Comal County Crime Stoppers at (830) 620-8477.

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