Four years later, family and friends of Ebonee Spears refuse to give up hope of finding answers

Four years later, family and friends of Ebonee Spears refuse to give up hope of finding answers

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - It’s now been four years since Ebonee Spears was last seen — when she asked a neighbor for a cigarette on the night she disappeared.

On Wednesday, her family and friends joined with the CUE Center for Missing Persons for a rally to bring attention to the case.

Wilmington woman Ebonee Spears. (Source: WECT)
Wilmington woman Ebonee Spears. (Source: WECT)

Spears was 30 years old at the time of her disappearance, and according to her family and friends, had been acting strangely in the days leading up to Jan. 15, 2016.

In the years since, little has come of the investigation into the missing persons case. Police asked the Federal Bureau of Investigation to assist in the case when they got a tip that Spears had been involved with a Georgia man they were told she owed a large sum of money, but nothing ever came of the tip.

Timeline

Officers at the Wilmington Police Department described Spears’ behavior as “erratic" leading up to her disappearance.

Weeks before: Spears checks into downtown hotel

Police learned Spears had booked a room at a hotel on Water Street in the weeks leading up to Jan. 15, and that she had accused staff at the hotel of stealing from her. No evidence supporting the accusations was found.

Jan. 14: Mental health concerns

The day before she was last seen, WPD officers said Spears drove herself to the police headquarters on Bess Street, just a few blocks from where she lived.

Police reported Spears was distraught and acting strangely, and was met at the location by her family and boyfriend. An EMS crew was called, but Spears refused treatment and her family did not seek involuntary commitment to a mental health facility.

Jan. 15, around 7:30 p.m.: Community Boys’ & Girls’ Club

In following her movements on the night they believe she disappeared, police determined Spears made two major stops.

The first was to at the Community Boys’ & Girls’ Club on Nixon Street, just a few blocks from her home.

At the center, Spears reportedly approached staff members, upset, claiming someone was following her.

Jan. 15, around 8 p.m.: WPD Headquarters

Spears’ next stop, police believe, was at the police headquarters on Bess Street.

She reportedly asked to use the phone, and became frustrated and left when she could not make the call she wanted to.

Police have video of Spears leaving the facility, though at the time they opted not to release the footage, they said in deference to Spears’ family, despite the family asking for the video to be released.

Spears father told WECT he believed his daughter was asking the police for help but was turned away.

Jan. 15, around 10 p.m.: Apartment

A man saw Spears outside of her Nixon Street apartment, when she reportedly asked for a cigarette.

Jan. 15, around 11 p.m.: Apartment

Spears boyfriend went to see her at her apartment, but she was gone. He told WECT he noticed her purse and wallet were still there, which he found odd, because he said she would never leave the bag when going somewhere.

Not Giving Up

Mary Bethea with the CUE center said events like Wednesday’s rally are important, because they keep people like Ebonee Spears from falling through the cracks.

“It’s still very real to the family. They are just as desperate for answers today four years later as they were the first day that Ebonee went missing,” she said.

A spokesperson for the Wilmington Police Department said they have no new information to share about Spears’ disappearance, but that they are still offering a $2,000 reward to useful information leading them to the missing woman.

Anyone with information is encouraged to call WPD at (910) 763-3888 or 1-800-531-9845, or call the CUE center at (910) 232-1687. Callers can remain anonymous.

Copyright 2020 WECT. All rights reserved.