WESTFIELD, Pa. (WETM) – The search for 85-year-old Phyllis Potter is about to enter its second month, but the search efforts are still going strong.
Phyllis Potter was last seen on July 21. According to volunteers, she spent the night at her friend Emily’s house on July 20. She left that morning and has not been seen since.
Before heading to her friend Emily’s house, Phyllis stopped at Missy’s Market, a place she would frequently visit to grab food and fill up on gas. The owner, Ashleigh Houghtaling, told 18 News that everything seemed normal with Potter that day and that she visited the store twice on July 20.
“She was always worried about running out of gas or breaking down or anything like that,” explained Houghtaling. “She was just scared of being stranded.”
It has been two months since anyone has seen Phyllis or her white Subaru outback. In the last few weeks, the story has grabbed attention of people all over the country. From neighbors to friends and even complete strangers, the search efforts for Potter began almost immediately.
“What if it was your loved one?” asked volunteer Tina Middaugh. ” What if it was your mother, your daughter, your aunt, your uncle your brother? What if it was you?”
That’s the motivation that has kept Middaugh along with several other volunteers going. On top of the involvement from the Pennsylvania State Police, several search groups have also volunteered their time and have come to Westfield to try to bring Phyllis home.
“We’ve had the Station 2 search and rescue crew come out,” said Middaugh. “We’ve also had the Chaos Divers, and they were phenomenal. There have also been several drone operators who have searched the area as well.”
Several bodies of water have already been searched, including Cowanesque Lake, Hammon Dam, Lambs Creek, and Austinburg Pond.
Another group that has been prominent in this search is the PA Terrain Search and Rescue crew. They are trained for ground searches and have scoured several areas already. Members say more help is always welcomed.
“We’re here to help the community and the family. We do it because that’s what we are trained to do,” explained Jeff Houseweart, a volunteer with the PA Terrain Search and Rescue crew. “If they want to come down and walk with my guys and me, I have no problem with that. The more the merrier. We can cover a lot more area.”
There has been a fair share of speculation on the internet about where Phyllis could be, but volunteers say having more people joining them on their search is the best chance of bringing Phyllis home.
“Theories don’t find her,” explained Middaugh. “Boots on the ground find her. People putting posters up and word of mouth, that’s going to find her.”
Currently, there are two active Facebook pages that are posting updates about the search for Potter. The page Phyllis Potter search and rescue has over 2,500 members, and the page The Search For Phyllis Potter has over 2,700 members.
If you would like to help in the search for Phyllis Potter, a group meets every Saturday at 10 a.m. at the People’s Church of Potter Brook. The group is also always accepting donations of bottled water and snacks for the rescue crews. They also would accept donations of flyers to help spread the word about Phyllis’ disappearance as far as possible.
Any donations can be dropped off on Saturday at the People’s Church of Potter Brook or at Berry Fresh Farm in Wellsboro. You can also send Tina Middaugh a message on Facebook as she is always collecting donations.