Najah Ferrell was starting a new job on Indianapolis’ northwest side, authorities said.
The morning of March 15, Ferrell was supposed to arrive at the Panera Bread restaurant on West 86th Street near Interstate 465 and Zionsville Road for her third day of orientation, said Brian Nugent, deputy chief of investigations for the Avon Police Department.
But employees indicated she never showed up, Nugent said at a press conference Thursday.
Indianapolis Metropolitan Police started investigating, then contacted Avon police when they learned she was last seen at her residence in the area of Dan Jones Road and County Road 100 South, authorities said.
Since then, a search has been underway for the 30-year-old mother of five. Police have filed more than 30 search warrants and have conducted about 40 interviews with family, friends and people in the area where she was last seen, authorities said.
“(We’re) trying to understand the big picture,” Nugent said. “That’s our goal.”
While Nugent declined to provide specifics on the investigation, he said an IMPD officer found her black Nissan Altima last week on the southeast corner of Michigan Road and West 86th Street — about two-and-a-half miles east of the Panera. Items believed to belong to Najah were found in the area of I-465 and Lafayette Road, Nugent said.
He said police consider the disappearance of Ferrell, who cares for three foster children and two biological children, suspicious.
“I think anyone that leaves their family for an extended period of time, we would call that suspicious,” he said.
Police have not named a person-of-interest or suspect. But Nugent says police believe “somebody knows something” and pleaded with anyone who has information to “come forward and help bring Najah home.”
Ferrell’s mother, Paula, tearfully made the same plea on Thursday.
“I (would never) want a mother to have to deal with this,” she said.
Ferrell is described as having black hair and brown eyes and stands at 5 feet, 4 inches, police said. Anyone with information on her whereabouts is urged to contact the Hendricks County Communications Center at 317-839-8700 or Crime Stoppers of Central Indiana at 317-262-TIPS.
SOURCE: Crystal Hill, Indianapolis Star