A year lost: Where is Ebonee Spears?

A year lost: Where is Ebonee Spears?

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - It's been one year since the disappearance of Ebonee Spears. She was last seen outside her apartment on Fourth and Nixon streets in January 2016. Wilmington Police Detective Lee Odham says Spears had asked a man she knew for a cigarette.

But since then, Odham isn't any closer to finding the now-31-year-old woman.

"I've come up with very little information as to where she could be or might be," Odham said.

Odham has poured over the same information – and can't figure out why, in the days and weeks before she vanished, Spears' behavior had drastically changed.

"Erratic," Odham said of her behavior. "Very paranoid."

Odham said Spears was taking an anti-depressant and medication for lupus.

A few weeks before her disappearance, Odham said Spears checked into a hotel in downtown Wilmington, a few minutes away from her apartment. Odham said Spears accused staff of stealing her things – accusations that were unfounded.

On January 14, the day before she disappeared, Odham said Spears drove to police headquarters – erratic and distraught. She met her parents and boyfriend there.

An officer called EMS, and Spears' parents say they spoke over the phone with her psychiatrist. In the end, Spears did not go to the hospital.

Fast-forward to the next night: January 16, 2016.

Odham said Spears walked to two places between 7:30 and 8 p.m.

First, she walked to the Community Boys and Girls Club on Nixon Street and frantically told staff members someone was following her.

"The way that she described it, was that she was acting erratically and paranoid and thought someone was trying to get her," Odham explained.

Employees, however, saw no one following Spears.

Then Spears walked into the police department lobby, where she was recorded on surveillance video asking to use the phone. When it didn't work, Odham said Spears was frustrated and walked out.

Three hours later – Spears was gone.

"Paranoia can be caused by legitimate threats or mental breakdown and I don't know what we're looking at here," Odham said.

Police are looking into reports that a man in Georgia could be responsible for her disappearance.

"Ebonee may have been involved with a male – a boyfriend who she had taken a large amount of money from who was incarcerated in Georgia," Odham said. "I would like at this point than to do nothing more than get a name for him."

Odham said the FBI has since opened a case on Spears, investigating all leads involving a possible kidnapping across state lines. Agents have searched in Georgia, but with no luck.

"We're back to square one," said Harriet Rivers, Spears' mother.

Exhausted, Rivers says she tries her best to stay hopeful for Aniya, Spears' 14-year-old daughter who is in her first year of high school.

"I look at these pictures and I look at Aniya and all I can tell her is it's going to be ok," Rivers said. "We'll get through it. It's going to be ok."

Odham believes there are people who have valuable information who have not come forward. If you know anything, you're encouraged to call Wilmington Police at (910) 343-3600. Your tip can remain anonymous.

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