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Authorities in Pennsylvania are searching for an “endangered” pregnant woman who mysteriously disappeared not long before her boyfriend’s vehicle was found engulfed in flames on a Philadelphia street.
Upper Darby Township Police said 21-year-old Dianna Brice was last seen at the K Laundry in nearby Lansdowne. She had been leaving the business with her boyfriend, Justin Smith, around 1 p.m. on Tuesday afternoon in Smith’s vehicle, according to a statement from police.
Hours later, around 5:30 p.m., Smith’s vehicle was found on fire in the area of 59th and Florence Street in Philadelphia—however, investigators did not find any driver or passenger inside the charred vehicle.
“Investigators have looked through hours’ worth of video footage and neither Diana Brice or Justin Smith were seen in, near, or around the car at the time of the fire,” Upper Darby Police Superintendent Timothy Bernhardt told local station KYW-TV.
Betty Cellini told the station her daughter had been pregnant with Smith’s child when she disappeared and is also the mother of a young 4-year-old son.
Cellini and her daughter had been together at the laundromat the morning she disappeared. She said Brice had seemed distraught at the time.
“She was so upset. She just kept crying,” Cellini recalled. “I asked her what was wrong. She said, ‘Nothing, Mom.’”
Smith arrived around 1 p.m. to take Brice to pick up some medication and then return home, Cellini said.
Cellini finished her laundry and returned to the family’s home, but was surprised that her daughter never returned.
She called Smith to find out where her daughter was, but she said he told her the couple had gotten into a fight and that Brice had gotten out of the car.
Cellini said she scolded the 23-year-old telling him, “What kind of man does that to your girlfriend who’s carrying your child?”
Smith allegedly told her he would go and look for Brice but found no sign of her. Cellini told the outlet Smith started to panic when she suggested calling the police to report her missing.
“He was like, ‘Oh my God, no, you better call me first,’ and I said, ‘What?’ and the phone went dead,” Cellini said.
A short time later, the car was found in flames. Authorities are now searching for both Brice and Smith.
Cellini told local station WPVI-TV that her daughter has a serious medical condition and needs to take medication daily, making her sudden disappearance all the more disturbing.
“Time is of the essence here,” Kevin Ryan, an investigator hired by the family told the news station. “She’s got a serious medical condition that requires daily medication. She hasn’t had her medication since Tuesday.”
Cellini has said it's unlike her daughter to go a day without seeing or speaking to her son.
“She has a 4-year-old son that keeps asking me, ‘Where’s my mommy?’” she said.
Police have described Brice as approximately 4’11” and weighing 190 pounds. She was last seen wearing a black short sleeve T-shirt, black sweatpants and a pair of pink, blue and yellow Ugg slides. She also has several distinctive tattoos including a small black heart on her right hand, a Mickey Mouse glove with the letters “AJ” on her left forearm, the word “NANNY” on her left shoulder, a rose on her left shoulder and right ankle and the phrase “My Brother’s Keeper” on her chest.
Anyone with information about the whereabouts of either Brice or Smith is urged to contact the Upper Darby Police Department Detective Division at 610-734-7677.
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