Police searching for a missing Missouri woman found her purse and medications dumped in the middle of a busy road on Sunday, changing the case from a missing person to an endangered person case.
The St. Louis Post Dispatch reports that Barbara Johnson, 62, of Maplewood, was last seen on Wednesday at around 3 p.m., off of the 7200 block of Manchester Road in Maplewood. Her daughter-in-law, Elizabeth Ashley, told authorities the woman has a range of medical ailments, including alcoholism, anxiety, arthritis, bipolar disorder, and heart problems. Her son, Charles “Gary” Martin, spoke with his mom on Mother’s Day; his wife said Johnson was short and argumentative with her son.
“She was argumentative, she didn’t want to talk, they had a short conversation and he hung up the phone,” Ashley said. “He thought he would just call her in a few days like usual.”
A friend called Johnson’s cellphone on Sunday looking for her. A detective answered the phone after he found Johnson’s belongings strewn about a busy area off of the 2800 block of Laclede Station Road, in front the apartment building the missing woman lives in.
Police arrested Johnson’s boyfriend when he answered the door at the apartment they share together, but according to police, it was for outstanding warrants. It’s unclear whether he’s a suspect in Johnson’s disappearance.
Ashley said that her mother-in-law has had trouble with law enforcement in the past but didn’t elaborate on specifics. She’s hoping that her mother-in-laws previously legal trouble will help police find her faster.
“She’s had her issues with police in the past, but at the same time, for us right now, that’s a benefit because every officer knows who she is and what she looks like and how to better look for her. They are looking for her hard. Every person we have contacted, police have already talked to them.”
“My husband can’t eat, he can’t sleep,” Ashley added. “I don’t know what we’re going to tell our children if she can’t be found.”
Johnson is described as a white female standing feet 11 inches tall with brown hair and hazel eyes. She was last seen wearing black pants, a black shirt, and a black hat. Anyone with any information is urged to contact the Maplewood police at 314-645-3000.
[Feature Photo: Barbara Johnson/Handout]