The search for the elderly North Bryan woman who has been missing since July 18 has been suspended.
Eighteen agencies participated in the search for Emma Carroll for eight days, but no clues were found as to her whereabouts.
"It has been a long hard and sometimes frustrating week, but we are now to the point that we literally do not know where else to look," Bryan County Emergency Management Director Jim Anderson said.
Carroll, 83, apparently walked away from home between and 6-8 p.m only July 18. She suffers from dementia, her family said. Anderson said authorities will continue to search for Carroll through the media, flyers and the internet.
Anderson thanked everyone who helped "whether by searching the woods, volunteering at the command post or with the Red Cross."
In all, hundreds of volunteers spent more than 3,500 man hours looking for Carroll.
Anderson said the search efforts from Col. Frank Williams and the students of the Youth Challenge Academy "were truly an asset to this operation. The effort that these young men put into the search was astronomical."
One of the missing woman’s daughter, Alethia Carroll, said her mother may have made her way to Hwy. 280 and gotten into an automobile with someone. She said the family is still holding onto hope that Emma Carroll will be found and brought home safely.
"We’re completely satisfied with what they (search team) did," Alethia Carroll said. "There wasn’t anything else they could do. Every bit of these woods has been searched."Carroll said authorities continue to come by the Carroll residence to check up on the family and "let us know that they’re not leaving us." She said some officers on ATVs continue to search the area as well.
"We’re still clinging to hope," Carroll said. "We need to know something. She didn’t just vanish off the face of the Earth. We are considering the possibility of getting a private investigator … For us (Carroll family), the search didn’t end Sunday night. It just goes to another level."
At a press conference, family members formally thanked searchers Sunday afternoon, an hour before the search was officially called off.
"Thank you doesn’t seem like enough," said Ruby Williams, another of Carroll’s daughters who spoke for the family Sunday, "but we thank you for all you have done."
Williams also said she hopes her mother’s disappearance will convince others with elderly parents to get GPS tracking devices. The family had planned to get one for Carroll on July 20.
"If we’d done it Friday (July 17), she’d still be here," Williams said.
Carroll was last seen in a blue dress with a large white collar and a white flower pattern on it. She is 5 feet 3 inches tall and 170 pounds.
Anyone with any information on Carroll’s whereabouts is urged to call 911 or Jim Anderson at 858-2799.
Jeff Whitten contributed to this story