August 8th, 2005 was a day off for Nita Mayo, one she decided to spend with a drive over the Sierra to shop and sightsee. It was the kind of trip the English born nurse living in Hawthorne enjoyed, one her family says was no surprise.
“Getting to know all parts of the United States was something she enjoyed and she loved scenery,” says daughter Tracy. “She was always putting us in the car and just driving to discover things,” adds her sister, Cindy.
Her car was found at the Donnell's Vista scenic stop on Highway 108. Donnell’s Vista offers a stunning view of some of the Sierras’ most rugged landscape. Locked inside the station wagon, investigators found her key, wallet and cell phone, but nothing that would explain her disappearance. She failed to show up for work on August 9, 2005 and was reported missing that same day.
Her family rushed from all over the US to mount a search and were joined by others. Searchers rappelled down the sheer drop. Volunteers brought all-terrain vehicles and helped her family scour the rugged landscape. Off and on for two years it continued without result.
Meanwhile, others kept the case alive in other ways. Friends back in Hawthorne distributed fliers, asking passing truckers to spread them elsewhere. Yellow ribbons appeared around town and, on her birthday, friends and co-workers released balloons.
All these years later the community has still not forgotten. One of the posters they and others produced hangs there today.
“Fifteen years have gone by and that’s too long. We need closure,” says Tracy Mayo.
She and her siblings haven’t given up hope.
Although the Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Office is setting up a Cold Case Unit, a spokesman tells us it’s still an active case, one with legitimate leads.
Nita Mayo’s family has long rejected suggestions she may have fallen victim to an accident or just wandered off. Tracy Mayor says they ’re convinced she fell victim to foul play and that someone out there could answer their questions.
”There is somebody out there that knows something and our message is to please come forward and tell what you know.”
She was declared legally dead in 2013.
Anyone with information should call the Tuolomne County Sheriff’s Office at 209-533-5815 or Secret Witness at 775-322-4900.
75 years old
Weight: 140 lbs.
Professional Affiliation: MEDICAL
Level of Education: UNDERGRADUATE DEGREE
Foul Play Suspected: Unknown / Undisclosed
Suspected Suicide: Unknown / Undisclosed
Reported missing on August 9, 2005 - 5796 days, 11 hours, 1 minutes ago
This case file was posted on
Mar 17, 2021 at 12:37
This case file was last modified on
Apr 17, 2021 at 23:39
This case file has been assigned the Missing Persons ID 1014
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