Union, SC made headlines years ago as the site of the Susan Smith tragedy. Union is in the news again as one of their citizens has gone missing, a beautiful 31 year old mother, Aretha Maria Fernandez was last seen after clocking out from her job at Ellen Sagar Nursing Home around 2:30 on September 3, 2008. It is assumed her boyfriend picked her up as he usually did, but has not been verified.
When investigators tried to talk to Maria's boyfriend, whose name has not been released, he and his family had already hired attorneys and will not answer questions without them. This is their right under the law, but it's also something that has raised a few eyebrows. According to a statement by Sheriff Howard Wells, “The most valuable person who could give us information in this case is the boyfriend and his family".
With so many unanswered questions there is not much for investigators to go on. One person, a friend of the couple, has been arrested for giving false information to them. What do these people have to hide? and why are they not fully cooperating to help find Maria?
According to her co-workers and family, Maria was a responsible, reliable person with a wonderful, sunny personality. Her mother, Susie Fernandez, reports that Maria and her unnamed boyfriend had been having some problems and Maria and her son were staying at her mother's home. Her boyfriend picked up Maria and her son that Wednesday morning and was to pick them up after work.
Maria was an attentive mother, by all accounts, and worked weekends so she could be present to put her son on the school bus each morning and be home for him after school. Family members also say she would NEVER leave her son behind, and fear that foul play is suspected.
A little 5 year old boy is wondering what has happened to the person who is his world.
Investigators are running against time with little cooperation from those who would know, all the while Maria's son is without a mother.
Once again, a relationship on the rocks, a mother who is somewhere with no car, no cell phone, no money, no personal belongings.
And a child left wondering with no answers..........
UNION, S.C. -- Investigators conducted a search Thursday at the home of a Union County woman who has been missing since early this month.
The Union County Sheriff's Office said that deputies, State Law Enforcement Division agents, a crime-scene unit, and the state Department of Natural Resources executed a search warrant at the home of Artetha Maria Fernandez on Blue Ridge Road.
Fernandez lived at the home with her boyfriend and the home is owned by the boyfriend's father.
The sheriff's office said that investigators were there at the home for more than six hours and found some "items of interest" to the case.
Those items were taken by SLED for further examination, investigators said.
Earlier reports from investigators indicated that Fernandez was last seen at her job at the Ellen Sagar Nursing Home.
But investigators said Friday that after constructing a timeline based on information from friends. co-workers and others, they now believe Fernandez was seen at the home on Sept. 3.
Investigators said that there have been no calls on Fernandez's cell phone nor any activity on her financial accounts since then.
Union County investigators said they believe it will be next week before they get any information from SLED about the items taken from the home.