Search continues for missing woman after her vehicle was found in Richmond Hill park

Published: Dec. 3, 2021 at 12:47 PM EST
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RICHMOND HILL, Ga. (WTOC) - The Bryan County Sheriff’s Office and family members spoke Friday about a missing 58-year-old woman.

The sheriff’s office said Karla Hillen was last seen in the area of Fort McAllister Road in Richmond Hill on Sunday, Nov. 21.

Bryan County Sheriff’s Office Investigators located Hillen’s vehicle inside Fort McAllister on Nov. 24. The Department of Natural Resources began searching the area shortly after Hillen’s vehicle was found. The Bryan County Sheriff’s Office now leads the investigation.

BCSO says, with permission from the family, they searched Hillen’s vehicle on Nov. 26. Officials say based on the information investigators have found, they believe Hillen left Fort McAllister on her own accord and under her own power.

Her husband, Jamie Hillen, flew in from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. He’s a teacher there, but he says both him and Karla have been a part of the Richmond Hill community for 20 years.

The family says this is not like her.

“She left her car at Fort McAllister State Park on November 21st with all of her identification. Her cash, her credit appears the only thing she took with her were the car keys. None of this, none of this makes any sense to us. Karla is diabetic and we’ve wondered if an insulin imbalance may have affected her clear decision making,” he said.

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Bryan County Sheriff Mark Crowe says they believe Karla is still in the park. That she walked away from her vehicle on her own and was not abducted.

They’ve combed through hours of video footage given to them from businesses and people in the community. None of it shows Karla exiting the park.

“I feel like if something happened as far as an abduction and she hollered...she yelled and said ‘hey, help me’ people would, somebody would’ve heard her out there. They couldn’t have abducted her on one of the trails and gotten her to a car or a camper without somebody seeing it,” Sheriff Crowe said.

The sheriff’s office was back searching Friday morning on foot. The park spans more than 1,700 acres with the Ogeechee River, wooded areas and marshes, so they believe she’s still here somewhere.

Sheriff Crowe says nothing they’ve seen so far points to foul play.

They estimate at least 2,000 people were at the park over the next few days from when she was last seen.

Heading into next week, the plan is to bring in eight K-9′s from Florida and as far as Columbia, South Carolina. That search will start Tuesday.

The sheriff says they will keep everyone updated with information that they can release.

Hillen is described as a white female, 5′5″, 155 lbs., with blond hair and hazel eyes. If you have any information on Karla Hillen’s whereabouts, please contact the Bryan County Sheriff’s Office at 912-756-3101.

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