Colorado Springs police say they're now investigating Debbie Heriford's disappearance as a homicide. Police say they hope she's alive but they fear her body might be found in Southern Colorado.
"We're now investigating this as if it's a homicide we believe Debbie's body will probably be somewhere in our viewing area either in El Paso County, Teller County, or Pueblo County," Colorado Springs Detective Derek Graham said.
This new information comes Friday in a news conference held by CSPD. Investigators say they now fear that foul play is involved, although no suspects or persons of interest have been named at this time.
"She didn't show to work on Friday, totally out of character for her, not talked to her sister who she talked to daily so there were a lot of concerns when we initially got involved that there may be something suspicious," Graham said.
Heriford hasn't been seen since March 31. Coworkers got worried when she didn't show up for work. On the night of April 4, police towed Heriford's car from her home and continued to search through her garage, and through her computer records and emails for evidence. There were no signs of forced entry. The only thing missing was Heriford’s keys, cell phone and dog.
"It is my guess that she went out Thursday afternoon to take the dog for a walk and something happened because she just never came home," Heriford's daughter, Sarah told 11 News. The dog was found behind a local business and has since been returned to the family.
More than a month later, Heriford's two daughters have filed a restraining order against their father, who was in the middle of a divorce with Debbie at the time of her disappearance. According to court records, Sarah Heriford filed a restraining order against her father, Harold Heriford, on April 8th. In it, she says she fears for her safety. She also claims he has been trying to get his hands on items from Debbie's house.
Debbie's other daughter filed a similar restraining order. She says her dad threatened her in a text message saying, "If you don't give me what I want we are going to have issues."
The papers were filed just days after Sarah Heriford spoke with 11 News about her mother's disappearance. She said, "You never think this happens to you."
During the emotional interview, she told 11 News that her parents were going through a divorce, but didn't think it had anything to do with the situation. 11 News has learned that Heriford’s final divorce hearing was set for May 24th.
In the last few weeks, the community has come together in support of the Heriford family. Fliers with Debbie's picture have been posted in businesses around town, and search parties have been organized. Many people even attended a candlelight vigil held in Debbie's honor. But there are still no signs of the missing mom.
11 News has been trying to get in touch with both Sarah and Harold Heriford for comment on the case, but we have not heard back from either one.
If you know anything about the case, you're asked to call Crime Stoppers at 634-STOP.