Search intensifies for missing woman

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By Lisa King

Search efforts for a woman missing since Sunday are still continuing and have intensified, according to police.

Shelbyville Police Maj. Danny Goodwin said that police are following several leads but none have panned out yet.

Maxine Ethington, 87, has been missing since 8 p.m. Sunday evening from her home on Craig Avenue in Shelbyville. The description of the clothing she was wearing when last seen is now known. She was last seen wearing a black, fleecy housecoat with small white snowflakes on it, and long, flat, gold shoes. She was carrying a black and gold purse decorated with small rhinestones. Also, she could be wearing glasses.

The car she is thought to be driving is a silver/gray Buick Sentry with a dent in the chrome strip on the car's left side. Also, the center of a hub cap on the vehicle's left side is missing.

Goodwin suggested that people search their barns and outbuildings for the woman, and also check their pools.

Although she has lived in Shelby County for many years, Ethington is from Casey County originally, and some speculate she may have been trying to get back there. Goodwin pointed out, however, that she has no money and may not even know who she is because she has dementia.

He added that although nothing has been ruled out, foul play is not suspected, and she is thought to have simply gotten into the car and driven off, although her driver's license is no longer valid. The license plate number of the car has now also been confirmed, and is Ky 186-BLY.

He said the Civil Air Patrol is flying grids across the county and search parties have expanded and now include hundreds of people.

"Every agency is assisting us, and the sheriff's office has given us their full cooperation," he said. "Every hospital is aware of her description, and we have many people searching on foot. The family has mobilized a large group of volunteers as well as police and fire and disaster and emergency services. We have walked and driven up and down every road in this county. Practically everybody in this community has been involved in one way or another."

Patty Ethington, the woman's daughter-in-law, said the family could not have made it this far without the support and love of the community.

"Everybody in the community has come out to help, our friends, family, churches, helping with food, encouragement and everything," she said. "That keeps us going. We're grasping at every straw right now, every lead, every thought that anybody has, we just want to check it out."

Anyone who wishes to help with search efforts or with support to the family can contact Centenary Methodist Church at 5th and Main streets at 633-4510 or go there directly, as the family has set up a center of search operations at the church.

Ethington asked that anyone who has any information about her mother-in-law's whereabouts call Shelbyville Police at 633-2326 or Central Dispatch at 633-2323.

"Please, we just want answers," she said. "Whatever has happened, not knowing is the worst thing."