Sheriff’s Office suspends ground search for missing elderly woman

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Pandora Duckett

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SHELBY COUNTY, Tenn. — The Shelby County Sheriff's Office has suspended the ground search for a missing elderly woman.

Authorities combed the Raleigh area Tuesday afternoon looking for an elderly woman who went missing nearly 36 hours earlier. They still called it a rescue mission, despite bitter cold temperatures.

Kirk Duckett is still anxiously awaiting for any news of his mother, Pandora Duckett.

“We’re taking it hard, but we know our mom is a strong mom, so she’s gonna pull through," Kirk Duckett said.

Agencies have been working together, and got a bit of a break in the case Tuesday afternoon. Officials hoped it would lead to finding the woman as soon as possible.

Authorities knew the 85-year-old Duckett went missing Monday morning, but they now say someone saw the news report about her and realized they had given her a ride to a convenience store at the corner of New Allen and Raleigh-Millington.

Surveillance footage showed her approaching the counter. The clerk there said she wanted to buy chips and Gatorade.

“She was a little bit angry when she told me, ‘This is too expensive,'" said Fith Alsaadi, who helped Duckett at the store.

He said her behavior became erratic, and she tried to give him her keys.

“She gave me her car key," Alsaadi said. "I told her, 'Why you give me your key, it’s not mine?' She took it.”

After the conversation with the clerk, surveillance showed her leaving the store.

The driver told authorities she dropped her back off somewhere on Rosswood Road, but not at her home.

“She drove off (and noticed) something wasn’t right, turned around, and she was missing—gone," Lt. Anthony Buckner with the Shelby County Sheriff's Office said. "It pushes our timeline back further. Our last sighting is 9:30 [a.m.]"

Buckner said this has widened their search, showing Duckett could have gotten in another car and now could be anywhere in the greater Memphis area.

“Yesterday, we dedicated around 80 officers in the search for Pandora Duckett," Buckner said. "Today, we have another 40 officers out searching for her.”

Kirk Duckett said he was glad to see the number of authorities searching for his mom.

“To see the helicopters, dogs, everyone on four-wheelers, it’s a great feeling to know people care," Kirk Duckett said.

But now, they're praying for her safe return.

Authorities said they do not suspect any foul play. They planned to continue searching into Tuesday night.

They tell everyone to keep an eye out and call 911 if anyone sees or hears anything about Pandora Duckett.

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