It’s been five years since Georgia woman Jenna Van Gelderen was last seen and her family hopes a renewed interest in her case will bring answers.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, Jenna, who was 25 when she disappeared, has been missing since August 19, 2017. Since then, cellphone and debit card activity stopped and no one has seen or heard from her.
Fox 5 Atlanta reports that Jenna was at her mother’s Druid Hills home on the day in question, babysitting an elderly cat. Jenna’s brother, Will Van Gelderan, stopped by the home and found the television on but no one was home.
After she reported her missing, police noted that a 5-foot Egyptian tapestry was missing from the living room wall, but her cellphone, charger, shoes and bag were left behind.
According to Oxygen, although the tapestry had sentimental value, it was not an expensive piece, which made her family question why it was missing.
Around three weeks later, Jenna’s blue 2010 Mazda 6 was found abandoned on Defoors Place in Atlanta. Another phone that belonged to Jenna (that her family was initially unaware of) was traced to Fairburn, Georgia.
Jennas’s last outgoing call was to a friend in South Carolina. The friend told police Jenna said she was going to lie down at around 2 a.m., then never heard from her again.
Jenna’s brother accessed her phone records and found a private Google chat between Jenna and an unknown person that took place the night she vanished. The unknown person was reportedly pushing Jenna to leave the home that night, Will said.
Will told CBS 46 that his sister is autistic and was just learning to live on her own as an adult, having moved into her own apartment just months before she vanished.
“She was just starting to get a grasp on her adulthood. Moving out of the house was a big step for her,” Will said. “She was sweet, she was loving, she loved animals.”
Due to her autism, Jenna, according to her family, followed a strict routine and would have never left home unannounced and without her belongings.
She had also begun hanging out with a group of people who may not have had her best interests in mind, but so far, there have been few tips and no arrests.
“[S]he was extremely gullible, extremely vulnerable because she wanted the friendships so badly, and she couldn’t always tell when their intentions were maybe to not be a good friend,” her mother, Roseanne Van Gelderan, said, according to Oxygen.
Jenna is described as a white female who stands 4-feet-11-inches tall and weighs around 140 pounds. She may have been wearing a green T-shirt with “San Antonio” on the front, along with a black tank top and black yoga pants. She has black hair and brown eyes.
Anyone with information should contact Crime Stoppers at 404-577-8477 or the GBI Tip Line at 1-800-579-8477. A $50,000 reward is currently being offered in the case.
“We just want to let her know we love her and want her home safe,” Jenna’s father, Leon Van Gelderen, previously told “Dateline.” “We don’t believe she left on her own. It’s terrifying to think about.”
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