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No Signs Of Missing West Virginia Woman Who Vanished From Bar More Than A Month Ago
Gretchen Fleming, 28, was last seen at My Way Lounge in Parkersburg, West Virginia on Dec. 4.
On Friday, authorities quickly dismissed reports regarding the discovery of human remains in Elm Grove, Ohio, about two hours away from where Fleming was last seen, as being related to this case.
“The Parkersburg Police Department learned this morning that a national news outlet alluded that human remains located in Ohio County, West Virginia may be connected to the Gretchen Fleming case,” the Parkersburg Police Department said in a statement on Friday. “At this time there has been no connection made between the two cases."
Parkersburg police noted that the remains had been recovered by the Ohio County Sheriff's Office at the behest of an out-of-state law enforcement agency. They clarified they were not the agency that made the request.
It’s unclear which news outlet’s report police were specifically referring to. Chief Matthew Board did not return multiple requests for comment and further clarification from Oxygen.com on Friday.
Fleming’s family filed a missing persons report on Dec. 12. However, she was last seen alive at My Way Lounge in Parkersburg on Dec. 4. Fleming left the business that night at around 3:10 a.m., leaving behind her her cell phone, bank cards and purse at the bar, according to Fox News.
The Parkersburg Police Department has since identified a person of interest in the case. An older man, captured on surveillance video leaving My Way Lounge with Fleming on Dec. 4 at around 3 a.m. is being eyed as a possible suspect in the case, officials previously said.
"He is a person of interest in this investigation," Parkersburg Police Lt. James Stalnaker said. "We know she left with him. We believe that she traveled back to his residence with him. He’s given inconsistent statements."
The individual in question, who hasn’t been identified, allegedly provided investigators with conflicting information.
"Through his own admission, she was at one point in his vehicle, but he's claiming she didn't make it to his house," Stalnaker added. "There is no indication they knew each other prior to this night."
Search warrants had been executed on the individual’s property, vehicle and electronic devices in December, however, the results of those findings haven’t been publicly released by law enforcement.
“At this point, we’re not getting anything from the person [of] interest,” Stalnaker added.
Detectives previously said they’d been working around the clock to solve the 28-year-old’s disappearance, which has made headlines across the country. Officials are now begging the public to come forward with any possible tips that could lead to information pertaining to Fleming’s whereabouts.
“People that have seen things, heard things, or just think that something might help, they have not hesitated to reach out,” Parkersburg Police Chief Matthew Board told West Virginia MetroNews. “There’s also been around-the-clock work for detectives to go through those leads.”
Fleming, who was living with her grandmother in Vienna, West Virginia at the time of her disappearance, studied political science at William Peace University, according to her Facebook profile. She’s from Raleigh, North Carolina. She had recently been employed by H&M clothing store at the Grand Central Mall in Vienna.
“We love her,” her father, David Fleming, told NBC News. “Something happened to her. I don’t know what to say. Tomorrow would be her 28th birthday, which will be hard. She’s an amazing little girl. I just want her home.”
Fleming’s disappearance has also rattled the small West Virginia community located approximately 110 miles southeast of Columbus, Ohio.
“When we hear about something like this happening, it just strikes you right through the soul,” My Way Lounge bartender Jessica McAtee told WTAP-TV. “Because you’re like, ‘I was just with her.’ Or, ‘I just talked to her.’ Like, ‘How could something like this happen this way?’ And then when you hear terrifying stories come up about this person that she was last seen with. And just things keep coming to light and people talking about it through the bars. And it’s just crazy. It really is. And you would never expect something like this to happen.”
As of Friday, no arrests have been made in the case. Fleming is described as having brown hair and brown eyes. She's approximately five-feet, one-inch tall and weighs 110 pounds.
Anyone with information is urged to contact Detective James Zimmerman at 304-424-1072 or the Parkersburg Police Department at 304-424-8444.