Tift County woman goes missing - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Tift County woman goes missing

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This sign at the Shoe Department store in the Tifton Mall says it all. This sign at the Shoe Department store in the Tifton Mall says it all.
G.O. Bailey Primary School became a temporary command post for those searching for Hazel McKellar. G.O. Bailey Primary School became a temporary command post for those searching for Hazel McKellar.
Cars from various law enforcement agencies line up on Shanna Street in Tifton as the search for Hazel McKeller continues. Cars from various law enforcement agencies line up on Shanna Street in Tifton as the search for Hazel McKeller continues.
The Crisp County Sheriff's Department lent their Mobile Command Unit to aid in the search. The Crisp County Sheriff's Department lent their Mobile Command Unit to aid in the search.
First Missionary Baptist Church pastor Keith Muldrow holds up the missing person sign that they created to help with the search.  Mrs. McKeller was a member of the church. First Missionary Baptist Church pastor Keith Muldrow holds up the missing person sign that they created to help with the search. Mrs. McKeller was a member of the church.
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Hazel Lee McKeller is like many South Georgians when it comes to her church.

Her Pastor is Keith Muldrow.  He said, "she was very involved."

But she was also involved in something that isn't so typical for a 71 year old - walking.  She would go miles from this house on Shanna Drive.

"She would go to the park, to the track on 8th street at the school. She would go there and she would walk every morning," said Pastor Muldrow.

In the last year, McKellar has taken ill and that's made her walks much less frequent. But this morning, she did go for a walk - and disappeared.

Captain Larry Taylor said, "we learned about it and got the initial call around 1:30 a.m."

The search began immediately and continued through the day, with more extra help to add to the helicopter that the Georgia State Patrol used to help with the search on Friday morning.

Captain Taylor said, "we started canvassing the area, and called in extra manpower to initially flood the area with officers.

"We contacted Crisp County Sheriff and Sheriff Harralson sent down the Mobile Command Center," he said.

And it wasn't just officers and firefighters who were helping out.  There were dozens of volunteers, led by Mrs. McKeller's fellow church members.

They went around town and put up fliers on telephone poles and in mall storefronts.  And after brief meetings and reassignments, they went out again.  Everyone realizes how important it is to find her quickly.

"When you have kids or someone with a medical condition, it's very important," said Captain Taylor.

That's because as the minutes tick by, the odds of finding someone with a medical condition alive becomes much longer. Still, McKeller's fellow church members believe that she'll be found safely.

Pastor Muldrow said, "we'll find her. We believe that we'll find her, we have faith that we'll find her and find her in good health."

And the hundreds gathered here are hoping that they're right.

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