Candice Caffas escaped from her home south of Meadville in mid-July.
A month later, Debra Sue Daniel said goodbye to the staff at Edinboro Manor and returned home to Meadville.
The fate of the two Crawford County women remains a mystery.
State and local police said they have followed all possible advice and leads received in the weeks since Caffas, 34, and Daniel, 68, went missing. Local authorities, family members, friends and other volunteers spent hours searching the areas and spreading information about the missing women in an effort to find them.
“It would be great if we could find out something,” said Daniel’s niece, Anne Puckett.
Although the two women disappeared in a short time and lived relatively close to each other, authorities do not believe there is a connection between the two missing persons cases.
Cpl. Philip Shaffer, crime supervisor for the Pennsylvania State Police’s E Troop Meadville station, which is investigating Caffas’ disappearance, said state police have been in contact with police of Meadville regarding his investigation into Daniel’s disappearance. But he said he didn’t see a correlation between the two cases, as the two women disappeared under two different circumstances.
“We don’t have anything to link the two missing people,” Shaffer said.
Caffas’ mother, Carol Caffas, reported her daughter missing early in the morning of July 16.
According to state police, Caffas, who has special needs, fled the family’s residence in the 9100 block of Mount Pleasant Road in Union Township, Crawford County, between 10 p.m. July 15 and 3 a.m. on July 16. Authorities believe she left the residence by climbing out of a bathroom window.
Carol Caffas told the Erie Times-News in late July that her daughter had been diagnosed with Prader-Willi syndrome, a genetic condition that leads to a number of physical, mental and behavioral problems.
She said a key feature of the syndrome is a constant feeling of hunger, and Candice is always hungry. Due to her daughter’s increased need for food, Carol Caffas said family members first searched grocery stores, convenience stores and gas stations after her daughter went missing.
After:‘I’m just scared to death’: Mother of missing Crawford woman won’t give up search
Carol Caffas also told the Times-News that her daughter had run away a few days earlier, escaping through her bedroom window. Candice had been away for about two hours and family members found her swimming in French Creek, she said.
Several large-scale searches involving agencies such as the State Police, the Pennsylvania Game Commission and the Crawford County Dive Team, as well as a number of volunteers, were launched shortly after the disappearance of Coffees. They initially focused on areas around Caffas’ home, then expanded to other areas when possible sightings were reported.
A sighting, which state police referenced in an updated news release about Caffas’ disappearance, placed Caffas on Route 285 in Conneaut Lake on July 16. Shaffer said the search was conducted in southern and southwestern Crawford County and northwest Mercer County because authorities believe, based on the sighting on Route 285, that Caffas was traveling in a southwesterly direction.
Although some volunteers are continuing to search for Caffas, Shaffer said the large-scale search has stopped for now.
After:Major search suspended as authorities continue to seek whereabouts of Crawford’s missing wife
He said State Police investigators are following up on all possible leads received in the case. According to Shaffer, tips came from all over Crawford County, parts of Erie and Mercer counties and places in Ohio.
But so far, investigators have no solid leads on Caffas’ whereabouts, he said.
Caffas is 4ft 9in and weighs around 95lbs, with dirty blonde hair. We knew that she last wore glasses, a purple t-shirt, orange shorts and blue sneakers. Anyone with information about his whereabouts is asked to call the State Police in Meadville at 814-332-6911.
Debra Sue Daniel
Daniel did not own a car and was known to walk to his destinations.
That included the long trip — at least partly on foot — to visit his mother at Edinboro Mansion in Edinboro, Daniel’s niece Anne Puckett said.
Once, when Daniel walked all the way, it took him about seven hours, Puckett said. But her aunt also hitchhiked when she couldn’t find a friend a car, she said.
The last known sighting of Daniel, according to Puckett, was in the early afternoon of August 15. Daniel arrived at Edinboro Mansion around lunchtime and she had a chat with the nurses just after lunch before leaving the facility, Puckett said. .
It is unclear whether Daniel, who lived alone, walked home or had himself driven, she said.
“But we strongly believe she went home that day, as a nurse at the nursing home said she didn’t know what she was wearing that day, but she had her satchel, which was her purse,” Puckett said. “The bag was at her apartment but not her wallet, keys or phone. We believe she went home and took these items for a short trip.”
There are security cameras in the Meadville apartment complex where Daniel lives, but family members don’t know if they captured any footage of Daniel that day, Puckett said.
The Meadville Police Department is investigating Daniel’s disappearance. Police Chief Michael Tautin said the matter was still under investigation and police were still trying to follow up on all leads.
Puckett said police didn’t share much information with Daniel’s family members about their investigation, other than to say they were pursuing numerous leads. They don’t know what leads the police are pursuing, she said.
The family did their part by contacting local media about the case and posting information on social media, Puckett said.
Daniel is bipolar and suffers from emphysema, Puckett said. She is about 5 feet 4 inches tall and weighs 135 to 140 pounds. She was last known to have blonde to gray hair a little longer than shoulder length, Puckett said. Daniel has tattoos on his right shoulder, back and ankle, she added.
Anyone with information on Daniel’s whereabouts is asked to call the Meadville Police Department at 814-724-6100. Family members said information can also be emailed to [email protected]