Thief River Falls family has hope Gina Anderson will be found
THIEF RIVER FALLS -- Leaving unannounced and not calling for days -- that isn't like Gina, say her husband, father and mother.
The Thief River Falls native never went far from home, didn't keep secrets and frequently talked to her parents on the phone.
"She's got to tell you everything," her father Steve Lappegaard said. "But right now, we have no idea where she's at or if ...."
Lappegaard's eldest daughter, Gina Lin Anderson, has been missing for a week.
"There's a million things that go through your mind of what could've happened and what did happen," he said. "And those scenarios, I don't want to think about, I don't want to talk about."
Anderson, 32, was last seen Thursday, Oct. 23, getting in her yellow 2002 Pontiac Sunfire outside her home. A construction worker chatted with her before she drove off.
"They knew each other, and he talked to her and said she seemed fine," her husband Jeremy said.
Her mom talked to her the night of Wednesday, Oct. 22. Judy Lappegaard said her daughter was looking forward to going hunting at the family's cabin near Grygla, Minn.
"She said, 'Make sure that Dad goes to the cabin with Jeremy because I have to work and don't want him doing deer stands by himself.'"
They ended their conversation assuming they'd talk soon. There was no hint that she would go missing the next day.
Jeremy, Gina's husband of 13 years, said he last saw his wife 7 a.m. Thursday when he left for work. It was her day off and she was asleep. The couple didn't talk during the day, but her mom drove by the house and saw her car there at 10:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. When Jeremy, 36, got home at 6 p.m., Gina wasn't there.
"I just thought she ran up to the grocery store or something," he said.
"That's what it looked like," her mom said. "The house was immaculate, the bed was made, her makeup sat on the toilet, and she had changed pants."
When Gina didn't come home by 7 p.m., Jeremy started to worry. His in-laws called at 7:30 p.m. -- they hadn't seen her. He phoned the police that night, then Friday morning he filed a missing person report.
The search then went into full swing. Family and friends drove main routes and back roads looking for some sign of her. They called everybody she knows.
"Everyone that was a possible, we've called them or been to their house or sent somebody to their house," Jeremy said.
Searchers have been investigating possible sightings of Gina around the region and reviewing security camera footage. Fliers with a photo of Gina and her car have been being distributed all over. Authorities conducted aerial and ground searches of the town and surrounding Pennington County.
"We searched that whole county: gravel roads, east and west, north and south," Jeremy said. But all their efforts have produced the same result: "Nothing."
The family had hoped Gina's car could be somehow tracked, but authorities haven't been able to locate it. Officials say there's no evidence that indicates she was abducted.
All day Wednesday and Thursday morning, authorities received no leads. Wednesday afternoon, Jeremy was planning to go up in his employer's plane and fly over Detroit Lakes and Pelican Rapids, Minn. -- towns where people reported seeing Gina.
"That's all I've got till we get some more leads of some kind," Jeremy said.
Despite the lack of leads, the family is committed to continuing the search.
"We don't want it to die," her dad said. "I mean, once it's dead, it's dead."
Gina left home with out her cell phone, purse, identification, credit cards, money, watch and medication. Her mom said she takes a prescription to prevent seizures which cause her to black out.
Her father said his daughter's life has been plagued by medical problems and setbacks. "She never had a break in life," he said.
Her medical issues led to a struggle with an addiction to painkillers, but her father said, despite that, she's never gone off without telling anyone.
"No matter where she went or what happened or whatever, she was always in contact," he said.
Her family is hoping she'll make contact with them soon.
"You just have to wait for that call and hope's it's a good call," her mom said.