What happened to elderly Oak Ridge woman missing 6 years?

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By MONA NAIR
6 News Reporter

OAK RIDGE (WATE) – Police in Oak Ridge still don't know what happened to an 84-year-old woman who disappeared along with her car in June 2005.

They have done extensive searches in local lakes and even in the Smoky Mountains she loved for Ruth Hemphill. She lived on Kingsley Lane with her husband at the time she went missing.

Hemphill's friends say she had a busy social life. “She was very active, played bridge and was active in church,” said Lucille Whitman, who golfed with Hemphill every week.

Ruth's husband reported her missing one day when she never returned from some social activities.

“We checked and she had not taken any clothes with her. She had very little money. She probably had half a tank of gas in her car. We checked her financial records and no credit cards were used by her,” said Detective Bill Griffith.

The detective says it was strange because Hemphill's car also vanished.

Teams looked in the bottom of local lakes. They found several other stolen vehicles, but there was no sign of Hemphill or her car, a 1999 tan Buick LeSabre.

Investigators even heard from a psychic who claimed to be in touch with Hemphill's spirit and sent them a letter describing her state of mind in great detail.

A few months before Hemphill's disappearance, she found out her grown daughter had committed suicide.

Is that a connection to the case? “There are so many possibilities. She may have done something to her herself or someone may have done something to her,” Detective Griffith said.

“I think everyone would like closure, to know what happened to her in the final days of her life,” Lucille Whitman said.

If you have information on Ruth Hemphill, call Oak Ridge police at 865-425-3502.

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