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Vigil planned for missing Thief River Falls woman

Gina Anderson

The sister of Gina Anderson, the Thief River Falls woman missing for nine months, says the family is doing more searching on its own because it's frustrated with what it says is a lack of support from law enforcement.

"At this point, my family is searching different areas where we feel Gina could have been traveling," Jackie Pagel wrote in an e-mail to news media Thursday. "We are not getting the support we hoped for from our local law enforcement, so we have taken it in our own hands to do the searching ourselves."

Anderson was 32 when she last was seen leaving her home Oct. 23 in her bright yellow Pontiac Sunbird. She left behind her purse and medication needed daily to keep her from having seizures.

In December, her youngest sister, Jill, died in a single-vehicle accident near Thief River Falls.

While law enforcement got lots of leads early on of possible sightings, none were confirmed and nothing has been seen or heard of Anderson or her car. Police have said there are no suspects in her disappearance and no evidence of foul play. The two rivers in Thief River Falls, the Thief and the Red Lake, have been searched several times by law enforcement, as well as by Anderson's relatives and friends. Law enforcement also have searched the region using aircraft and all-terrain vehicles more than once and reported that every place thought possible to search has been.

Searches also have been conducted in and near a pond in West Fargo, where a couple claimed to have seen Anderson shortly after she disappeared, and other leads in the region have been followed up with no positive results, according to investigators.

The family continues to offer a $5,000 reward in the case. A national organization set up to help families of missing persons recently withdrew its own $5,000 reward in the case, saying it no longer was able to offer rewards in such cases, Pagel said.

Pagel said a prayer vigil for Anderson will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. Saturday in the gazebo near St. Bernard's Catholic Church in Thief River Falls. The Rev. John Voelker, pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church, where Anderson's parents attend, will help lead the vigil.

Voelker "has been a large support for my family since Gina went missing and was also the pastor that held my sister Jill's funeral," Pagel wrote.

"Our feeling of urgency to find Gina is as strong as it was the first day she went missing, and we will not stop till we do no matter what the outcome. We still welcome any community volunteers or any public to help in the searching."

Anyone with information on the case should call the Pennington County Law Enforcement Center in Thief River Falls at (218) 681-6161.