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Looking for closure, family of missing woman raising money to hire private investigator

Family and friends of Hattie G. Brown are asking the public to come out in honor of their missing loved one this Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Constitution Square in downtown South Boston.

They’re hoping this fundraising event will raise enough money so they can hire their own private investigator, according to Brown’s sister, Diane.

She and other family members are hoping for an outpouring of community support this Saturday that will help them by making a donation to help hire a private investigator or by contributing goods that can be auctioned to raise funds.

After three years since her disappearance the family still has found no closure and continues to ask questions.

“Our family is going into the fourth year without Hattie. She’s still missing, and we still don’t have any information about what has happened to her. 

“Last year our family increased the reward for information leading to some resolution of the case, but we still don’t have anything,” her sister, Diane, said. “We just keep hoping we’ll be able to find out something.”

At first the family offered a $2,500 reward, then a $10,000 reward, and then last year they doubled it to $20,000 where it remains today. They also put up a billboard on her birthday, and they agreed to appear on a television documentary aired last spring.

Hattie Brown’s mysterious disappearance was the subject of a 30-minute documentary featured on “Find Our Missing” series aired on TV One.

TV One, based in Silver Spring, Maryland and primarily owned by Radio One and Comcast Corporation, targets African-American adults with a broad range of programming. 

The network airs original lifestyle, documentaries and entertainment-oriented shows, movies, concert performances, as well as classic series from the 1970s-2000s, such as Amen, Good Times, Living Single, Martin, The Parent ‘Hood and All of Us.

Producer Chris Karnak, a contractor for Towers Production, was in South Boston last November filming interview segments for the documentary that aired in the spring.

At the Holiday Inn in Riverdale, Karnak interviewed family members, media representatives and law enforcement officers who have been involved with the investigation since the 48-year-old Brown dissappeared over two years ago.

Brown, a black female with brown eyes and black, shoulder-length hair, was last seen wearing a sleeveless top and pants with side stripes at 2:33 a.m. on May 16, 2009 at the Sheetz gas station at the intersection of Highways 501 and 58 just outside South Boston.

A video camera captured the woman, her nephew and her vehicle at the gas station.

She had reportedly left home without her purse or critical medication.

Her car was discovered July 7, 2009 abandoned behind an old barn on property in the southeastern corner of Halifax County. The vehicle had been completely destroyed by fire.

The documentary filmed in South Boston brought together Brown’s sisters and brothers who helped tell her story in the 30-minute documentary that aired as part of a series of 10 one-hour episodes.

The show featured interviews with six of Brown’s siblings, including Diane Brown, who works with the Halifax County Sheriff’s Office, and the youngest brother, Lionell.

Although it was hoped the spring documentary would lead the family to finding answers about their sister’s disappearance, the case remains cold.

That’s why her family has decided to bring Hattie’s disappearance back into the spotlight, in hopes that someone may come forward and provide information about what happened to her.

The family has planned a fundraiser in honor of the retired Sgt. First Class this Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Constitution Square in downtown South Boston.

As part of the day’s events, entertainment will be provided for all ages. 

The Rev. Frank Coleman will give an opening prayer at 11 a.m. and offer a few words of encouragement.

Live music will be provided throughout the day. The praise dance team will perform, an auction will be held at 4 p.m., and a car show will be held with bikers also in attendance.

Entertainment this Saturday will include a bounce house, Sunshine the Clown and raffle drawings. The first prize raffle winner will receive a $100 gas card, and second place prize-winner will receive a $50 Visa card. The drawing will take place at 5 p.m., and the winner will be notified.

Full plate dinners will be available for purchase including a choice of fish, barbecue or hot dogs, two sides, dessert and a drink. The cost is $8 per plate.

Anyone interested can be a sponsor for the event ranging from gold, silver or bronze. A gold sponsor contributes $500, silver gives $350, and bronze is $250.

For more information about Saturday’s event sponsored by American Legion Post #99 or to purchase a sponsorship, contact Diane Brown at 434-454-7612, “Tee” Barksdale at 434-525-3923 or Randy Brown at 434-841-5492. 

Checks can be made payable to Help Find Hattie Brown Fund, P.O. Box 61 Clover, VA 24534.

Diane Brown said she just wants closure for her family.

“If a private investigator can help find her, and we can put her to rest, it would be such a relief to us,” she said.

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