Monroe County woman missing for 16 months still not found, despite rumors to contrary

Betty Hayes

Betty Hayes | Photo courtesy of Monroe County Sheriff's Department

PARIS, Mo. — Rumors that law enforcement discovered the body of a Holliday, Mo., woman missing for nearly 16 months this week are not true.

The Monroe County Sheriff’s Department took a report of a missing person on Dec. 17, 2021. The last known contact with Betty L. Hayes, 88 at the time, was by a family member by telephone on the night of Dec. 16. She was believed to be at her residence in Holliday. A large-scale search was initiated. An investigation involving multiple law enforcement agencies into the whereabouts of Hayes has been ongoing since she disappeared.

Monroe County Sheriff Joe Colston said Friday a person was cutting across a planted field on Wednesday in Monroe County to go mushroom hunting. That person found material in the field that appeared to have come from a pair of pants.

“During our search, we found several pieces of this material that was purple in color,” Colston said. “The person who discovered it recalled from a previous report that Betty Hayes was last seen wearing purple- or plum-colored pants, which is kind of what initiated a call.”

The discovery, in the early evening on Wednesday. was enough to get the attention of the sheriff’s department.

“We did a pretty thorough ground search on foot and with UTVs,” Colston said. “We did a search into the end of the night, and then (Thursday) morning, we had a cadaver dog come out and read the area. (The dog) did not indicate the presence of any remains, and we did not find anything that was consistent with remains.”

Colston said he doesn’t believe the material discovered was related to what Hayes was wearing.

“It could have been, but as we have looked at it, honestly we don’t think it is the same type of material as the pants Betty was last seen wearing,” he said “It was just similar in color.”

Muddy River News also received an email this week about the possible discovery of a set of dentures. Another inquiry reported her body was found south of Paris in an area that would have been too far to walk, especially for an elderly woman in cold weather, indicating she was transported to that area.

Colston said neither of those reports are true.

He says his office will continue to investigate any lead it receives.

“Any lead that comes in that we feel has any degree of credibility, we go out and investigate it,” he said.

A search for Hayes near her home was conducted on Dec. 17, 2021, and it was expanded to a large-scale air and ground search throughout the day on Dec. 18. The search was conducted by law enforcement, firefighters, volunteers, and a Missouri State Highway Patrol aircraft.  Searches of the area around her residence by family, neighbors, friends and law enforcement since have continued.

Hayes is a white female with blonde/gray hair, blue eyes, approximately 5-foot-2 and 86 pounds.  She was last seen wearing a dark colored stocking hat and a dark coat with purple sweat pants. Hayes was a nurse for more than 35 years. She lived in her farmhouse for more than 60 years and had a herd of cattle she cared for. 

Anyone with information about Hayes should contact the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office at 660-327-4060. 

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