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Five years ago this week, Wanda Faye Walker, a retired school teacher and grandmother, disappeared from her Nashville neighborhood. Now, the FBI and Nashville police have joined forces in a renewed effort to find out what happened to her.
Authorities say Walker, then 60 years old, was probably the victim of a crime.
“From everything we know now, I believe Ms. Walker was the victim of foul play,” Matt Filter, Lead Detective with the Metropolitan Nashville Police, said earlier this week at a press conference.
Walker was last seen by a family member on Oct. 4, 2016. She also missed two days of work at her part-time job at Dollar Tree, which family members say was unusual. After three days of searching on their own, her family reported her missing to authorities.
Police later found her Nissan Maximum four blocks from her home.
“The car was found locked. There were personal items inside the car that she would have normally carried with her,” Filter said.
He said a significant amount of Walker’s blood was inside the car.
Investigators also found signs of a struggle and believe Walker may have had a physical confrontation with someone that she knew, according a release from the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department
Police also said a significant amount of privet, a flowering shrub-like plant, was also inside the car.
“There are other elements of this investigation, which I cannot discuss at this time. However, suffice it to say, I believe that Wanda Faye Walker was likely killed, and I believe there are members in our community who have information that would be able to answer some of the questions we have,” Filter said, according to WKRN.
A $11,000 reward -- $10,000 from the FBI and 1,000 from Nashville police -- is being offered to anyone with information that leads to an arrest in the case.
“We’ve gone five long years, without knowing what happened to my grandmother. It has been a difficult journey,” Quantesa Chambers, Walker’s granddaughter, said at the news conference. “We definitely miss having her around. Her smile, her laugh. If you or anyone out there knows or have any information … we would love for you guys to share that information with us.”
“What we need now is to provide closure for this family,” FBI Assistant Special Agent in Charge Matt Foster said.
This is not the family’s first encounter with a tragic disappearance.
Walker’s daughter, Laresha, also known as Deana, has been missing since Nov. 19, 1999, according to WTVF.
She dropped her 2-year-old son with her sister, Lakesha Chambers, and was then going to get her car appraised in Murfreesboro, the news station reported. She hasn’t been seen since.
“We don’t have any clues about what happened to her,” Chambers told WTVF in 2019, 20 years after her sister vanished.
Shortly after her disappearance, Chambers went to Walker’s home looking for answers. It was empty, but lights and music were on in the residence, she told the station
“Everything looked in place,” Chambers said. “It looked like two people had been sitting on the bed, so we feel whatever happened to her, it had to be somebody she knew.”
Police don't believe the two cases are connected.
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