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Evidence discovered, sent to lab for analysis in missing woman case

Authorities are hoping evidence found at two properties in Campbell County Tuesday now headed to a lab for analysis may lead them to discover what happened to Wendy Dawn Beadles Francis.

Francis, a 36-year-old Nathalie resident, has been missing since June of last year and was last seen in Brookneal, according to authorities.

On Tuesday, authorities searched two properties, one located on Mattox Street in the Town of Brookneal and another on Phelps Creek Road between Brookneal and Rustburg.

After several months of investigating Francis’ disappearance, Halifax County authorities and Virginia State Police joined Campbell County Sheriff’s investigators who executed search warrants on the two properties as they looked for evidence that could bring them closer to finding Francis.

Authorities continue to follow up on any leads they receive, the latest being information that Francis had friends in Brookneal and most likely stayed with them after she left her home in June.

However, law enforcement officers declined to comment on specific details of the tip that led them to search the Campbell County properties Tuesday afternoon.

 According to Campbell County Sheriff Steve Hutcherson, information gleaned from its investigation gave authorities probable cause to execute the search warrants.

Hutcherson said the two properties were searched simultaneously, and authorities found items in both locations that were sent to the Richmond lab for analysis.

The Campbell County sheriff declined to identify who owned the two properties involved in Tuesday’s search.

Halifax County Sheriff Fred Clark confirmed Thursday a swab for DNA had been taken from Francis’ parents on Wednesday.

Hutcherson said the Campbell County Sheriff’s Department is actively investigating this case, which may lead to other searches but added he can’t say for sure at this time whether more searches will be made.

He also declined to comment on whether authorities are pursuing any persons of interest in Francis’ disappearance.

Hutcherson said, “I’d rather not comment on that. The ultimate goal of the Campbell County Sheriff’s department is to make an arrest if we find that a crime has been committed.” 

 Anyone who knows anything related to Francis’ disappearance or who had contact with Francis during the May/July timeframe is asked to contact the Campbell County or Halifax County Sheriff’s Offices.

Assisting Campbell County Sheriff’s Office in their Tuesday search were investigators from the Halifax County Sheriff’s Office, Virginia State Police officers and dive team members, Search and Rescue Team members and Alcohol Beverage Control agents.

Francis is a white female, five-foot four-inches tall, weighing 120 pounds. 

At the time she was reported missing, Francis had brown hair and blue eyes. A tattoo of a scorpion can be found on the back of her neck.

Authorities said Francis isn’t wanted on any charges and does not have any medical conditions.

Anyone with information concerning Francis’ whereabouts is asked to contact the Halifax County Sheriff’s Office at 434-476-4273.