A Pilates instructor who is nine-months pregnant with her first child has launched a desperate appeal to find her mother after she mysteriously vanished overseas.
American expat April Grillo, who lives in Perth, should be preparing to celebrate the happiest moment of her life as she counts down the days until her son’s birth.
Instead, she has spent the past few weeks sick with worry, hoping her mother Cynthia Maria Hoover will be found safe on the other side of the world.
Ms Hoover, 60, was last seen on March 8th at 2.30pm in Milton, in northwest Florida, before concerned relatives reported her missing seven days later after being unable to contact her.
American expat April Grillo, who lives in Perth, has launched an appeal for information to find her missing mother Cynthia Hoover (pictured together) who was last seen by relatives at a Florida address on March 8
Her car was found abandoned two days later facing westbound on interstate 10, near Ward Basin in Milton, and detectives have been unable to determine if she was with anyone or where she was heading.
‘My family has been searching for her days. No one seems to know anything,’ Ms Grillo wrote in an appeal for help on social media.
‘Trying to navigate through this extremely difficult time [has been] a learning curve I hope you never have to experience.
‘We just want her to come home safely. Please keep my family in your thoughts. And please speak up if you know anything. I’d be so grateful.’
Ms Grillo said it was extremely unusual for her mother to go this long without contacting her or other relatives and her phone goes straight to voicemail.
Santa Rosa investigators are urging members of the public to come forward with any information that may help locate the beloved mother, and say she is possibly endangered due to a possible medical condition.
‘The police are doing their job looking through bank/phone records, pulling the highway camera footage, and following up on the tips that have been called in,’ Ms Grillo said.
‘In the meantime KlassKids and Geaux Rescue are assisting in local searches and friends have made flyers and I know they’ve been hung up all over town.’
Ms Grillo is nine-months pregnant with her first child and is due to give birth to her son in April
Ms Grillo said it is extremely unlike her mother to not be in contact with relatives
A billboard with a photo of Ms Hoover has been erected in the Santa Rosa county area in the hope it will trigger new leads.
Local media reports said the car appeared to have been ransacked when it was found along the interstate, near mile marker 25.
Ms Hoover was last seen by family at an address on Lakeside Drive on March 8 before leaving to pay a bill a six minute drive away, but it remains unclear whether or not she arrived.
Her Jeep was towed away two days later on March 10 after being located by the road, but investigators are still trying to piece together how long it had been there.
Search teams scoured 70miles around the area were her car was found, nearby woods and by boat along Blackwater River, two weeks ago but failed to find any trace of Ms Hoover.
Around the same time Ms Hoover disappeared, Ms Grillo celebrated her baby shower for her little boy, who is due in April, with friends in Western Australia.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, she has been separated from her family in the United States, making the upcoming birth of her child all the more difficult.
‘Having our first bub so far away from home can make you extra homesick at times. Our friends have showed up every step of the way on this journey and shown us what an amazing village we have,’ she wrote alongside a photo of the baby shower.
Now, the distance has become even more pronounced as she searches for her mum.
‘It’s excruciating not being home with my family right now,’ Ms Grillo wrote in a later post.
‘I know a lot of you are concerned about my stress levels being almost nine months pregnant. Mentally I’m a mess but staying as calm as I can. We have had a regularly scheduled checkup last week and both of us are physically healthy.
‘[My husband] Mike is amazing and is ensuring we remain that way. Our friends here in Australia have made sure I feel their support being so far from home.’
Ms Hoover is described as having brown hair, blue eyes, is 5’5″ (160cm) tall and weighs about 230 pounds (100kg).
A Facebook page has been set up for those who wish to join the search efforts.
A billboard has been erected in the area calling on members of the public to come forward if they have any information that could assist in finding Ms Hoover