Abby Lynn Patterson should have had a year to remember.
The North Carolina woman’s 2018 should have been filled with days at the beach and holidays with family, friends and her boyfriend. She should have rung in her milestone 21st birthday on Feb. 15, likely spending the day with her mother, Samantha Lovette, as she did every birthday before.
Instead, Patterson’s mother marked the day by sharing memories of her daughter on Facebook in an appeal that someone, somewhere, would come forward with information to help find her.
“Please end this nightmare,” she pleaded.
It’s been one year since Patterson vanished on Sept. 5, 2017.
Then 20, Patterson left her family’s home in Lumberton saying she was going to run errands and would be back in about an hour.
“Woke up to, 'Mama, I love you, see you later," Lovette shared on Facebook.
An hour came and went, but there was no sign of Patterson.
By the time a missing person report was filed at 6 p.m., Patterson’s phone was going straight to voicemail.
Patterson had only been in Lumberton for several days before she vanished, having arrived at her mother’s home after spending time in a Florida rehab for heroin addiction, according to a missing person report.
In the months before Patterson’s disappearance, three women’s bodies were found in Lumberton. Rhonda Jones, 36, and Kristin “Christina” Bennett, 32, were found dead 50 yards apart from each other on April 18, 2017, while the body of Megan Oxendine, 28, was found about two city blocks away on June 3.
The three women, all of whom were found naked and in varying states of decay, also struggled with drug addiction. The causes and circumstances of their deaths remain undetermined.
Police have said they do not believe Patterson’s disappearance to be related to the deaths of the other women as there are few similarities in the cases.
Patterson was last seen getting into a brown Buick.
Investigators have spoken to the driver of the Buick, who said they told police they dropped off Patterson at another location.
Authorities declined to reveal where that person said they drove Patterson.
In the year since she vanished, investigators have worked to find Patterson, but few clues followed.
“Detectives have followed a number of leads, but have not determined what happened to Abby after she left her home last year,” Lumberton police said in a statement on the one-year anniversary of her disappearance.
The FBI was also involved in the search for Patterson, creating a poster urging tipsters to come forward and searching the area in July for signs of the missing woman.
When the anniversary no one hoped would come was upon them, Patterson’s family and friends took to social media to plead for answers and for her to make it home safe.
“You’re my best friend!” Tracey Goodman wrote. “You bring out the good [in] everyone and without you, we’re in agony. We need you to come home, please.”
The day before, Patterson’s mother shared the last photos she had taken with her daughter. In them, they and Patterson’s grandmother were smiling and appeared content. They were at the beach. It was the day before Patterson would disappear.
“We are not giving up,” Lovette wrote. “I feel you with me every day. I promise we will find you.”
Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Patterson is asked to call the Lumberton police at 910-671-3845.