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Ethington missing for a month - Family clings to hope

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By Lisa King

A month has passed since Maxine Ethington disappeared from her home on Craig Avenue.

During that time, both the Shelbyville police and the sheriff's office and family members have mounted an exhaustive search for the missing 87-year-old woman with dementia.

Despite searches on foot, by car and plane, by law enforcement, family and friends, volunteers and the national guard, no trace of the missing woman has been found.

Ethington is believed to have gotten into her silver 2001 Buick and driven away, despite having no driver's license.

Her family has offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to her recovery, but so far, that incentive has not brought any new leads.

Shelbyville police, the agency heading up the investigation, said they are still working to locate Ethington.

"We are still following up leads constantly as they come in," said Maj. Danny Goodwin. "But so, far, nothing has led us to knowledge of where she is."

He said that various rumors circulating around town surrounding the woman's disappearance are not helping the investigation. For example, one rumor that has been going around is that she was found at the dam at Lake Shelby. Goodwin said he thinks that rumor was perpetuated because firefighters were conducting a water rescue training session recently, and people thought they had located the missing Ethington. He added that if someone has some concrete information to offer police, that information would certainly be welcome, but speculation is not.

"Anyone can always call us with any information they might have, and we take all tips seriously and we look into the validity of them to the nth degree."

He added that the case is still an active missing person investigation, but that he is not ruling anything out at this point.

Family pursuit

In addition to the investigation and search efforts by police, Ethington's family is still pursuing their own efforts to find her.

As the search has progressed over the past month and the county and surrounding areas have been scoured to no avail, and the family has appealed to the public, with no results, they have resorted to less standard search methods, including employing psychics. That recourse has yielded no leads, either. Patty Ethington said that the family has also brought in cadaver dogs to search in water, but that avenue has also turned up nothing.

Searching in lakes and ponds implies the grim premise that it is suspected that Ethington is deceased, and Patty Ethington said that tragic possibility grows stronger with every day that passes.

"Because of the time frame, if she is out by herself and something has happened, we don't see how she could still be living," she said. "And we've tried everything else, so we thought we would try this."

Tim Ethington, grandson of Maxine Ethington, said the family is thinking of hiring a private dectective, simply to have more manpower at work on the case.

"The more people that are out there working, the better shot you have of finding somebody," he said. "We're just trying every possibility (to see) where she could be."

Patty Ethington said the family has no idea or theory on what could have happened to Maxine.

"One day we think she drove away, and the next day, we think somebody took her," she said. "We just go back and forth."

Ethington said though the family is trying to get back to normal, that has been proving hard to do.

"It's been very difficult, very emotional, because of all the rumors that have been going around," she said. "It's very frustrating. Talking about it every day just wears you down. Getting on with everyday life is very hard. It's been a month now and you just never know what's going to happen each day."

She added that the family still meets with police once a week.

"We just go over what the rumors were that week and what they did about them," she said.

The family is still offering the reward, and a tip line they set up (321-2911) is still active.

If anyone has any information about the missing woman, they can call the above number, or police at 633-2326 or 633-2323.

Patty Ethington said one important thing remains that people can do.

"Pray," she said. "We just hope that our prayers are going to answered one day."

Text box info:

MISSING

Maxine Ethington, age 87

Last seen wearing black housecoat with white snowflakes

Wearing gold shoes and carrying black purse

Suffering from dementia, may be confused

Driving a silver Buck Century, license no. Ky 186-BLY

Car has slight damage to left side, missing one hubcap