A massive search and rescue team effort was launched Saturday morning to search for Bearden, with local and state agencies and more than 100 volunteers from the Texas State Guard Maritime Regiment assisting. The search spanned 23 miles around and beyond Bearden’s in-laws’ home in Garden Ridge, but no evidence of foul play was found. The last time she was seen was when a gardener saw her leave her in-laws’ home to go for a walk.
Before Bearden’s disappearance, she and her husband, Josh, traveled for almost two years around the world. When they returned to the United States, they stayed with a friend in Georgia before coming to Texas in December to visit Josh’s parents. The couple was due to travel back home Jan. 21 to Denver, Colo., to look for work when Bearden went missing. Josh told CNN that his wife went for a walk on her own, but obviously something happened during her walk and no one knows where she is. When he didn’t see her three hours after she left for her walk, he became worried and called the police. The couple has been married for four and a half years, and own a home in Denver.
Bearden had an online journal of her travels around the world, called “Explore! You don’t choose a life, you live one.” The couple’s last trip before returning to the States was Bolivia in December. The blog posts are long and full of photos, clearly showing Bearden was having a lot of fun in her travels.
Bearden’s brother, Michael Hecht, gave a statement Saturday, saying two helicopters were following ground searches for the past two days, looking for his sister. “It’s baffling right now about what happened. Maybe she fell and hurt herself. You start thinking about things … She is loved very much,” Hecht said.
Despite the puzzling disappearance, local authorities do not suspect foul play but they will not speculate on what could have happened. Rather, it is believed Bearden may have injured herself while walking. A search and rescue team member said she could have easily fallen into a ditch somewhere, as the area around Josh’s parents’ home is scenic and ideal for walking. Search and rescue is maintaining optimism in this case.
Back home in Denver, the Beardens’ friends held a fundraiser in bars to help with the search efforts in Garden Ridge. One of the organizers for the fundraiser said about 600 people showed up.
The Beardens and others are posting “Missing Person” fliers around the Garden Ridge neighborhood and near the highway. Bearden’s father-in-law, George, is hopeful for a good outcome but finds it difficult to have patience. He is afraid of what they might find, he says.
The search continues for the Texas woman, Leanne Bearden, who traveled the world, only to come home and go missing. She is described as 5 foot 2 inches tall, weighing about 100 pounds, and with brown hair and brown eyes. She was last seen wearing jeans and hiking boots.
By Juana Poareo