SANFORD — The parents of a Sanford woman missing for more than three weeks are pleading for anyone with new information about their daughter’s disappearance to contact the Sanford Police Department.

In a brief but emotional news conference Tuesday, Kenneth and Sheila Rear of Bradenton, Florida, said that although their 40-year-old old daughter, Kerry Rear, had struggled with alcoholism and an unspecified mental illness, she always stayed in touch with her family.

“We just want Kerry to know that we care about her and miss her and we’re not ready to say our goodbye,” Sheila Rear said. “If she can hear us, please call us. Her friends and family miss her a lot.”

The family said that a combination of circumstances had recently come to a head, causing great stress for Rear, although they declined to describe them. The result seemed to be some sort of mental break with reality, Kenneth Rear said.

“She’s a troubled woman, but she always calls us no matter what,” Kenneth Rear said. “She knows we never judged her. I just assumed things piled up and she couldn’t deal with it.”

The Rears announced that they are offering a $10,000 reward “to the person who provides direct information” leading to the safe return of their daughter. A $5,000 reward remains in effect for any information leading to her whereabouts.

Police said they are treating the investigation as a missing person case, and said there is no indication of foul play.

The Rears said their daughter’s mental illness had never before caused her to lose touch with reality or disassociate.

Rear was last seen Jan. 22 on foot in south Sanford near the Route 4 rotary, where she entered the Lil’ Mart and seemed confused. Rear’s family reported her missing a week later.

While at the Lil’ Mart, Rear appeared to believe she was in a bank, and inquired about making a deposit, police said previously. She left the store for a few minutes before returning to ask the same questions again.

“No one that night has said they thought she was intoxicated, just that she was disoriented,” Detective Eric Small said.

She left the store on foot and headed toward Country Club Road wearing brown sweat pants and a black puffy jacket with a pink-lined hood. She stands about 5 feet, 6 inches tall, weighs about 130 pounds and has blond hair and blue eyes.

Several searches using tracking dogs have not turned up any concrete leads, police said, although one dog and its handler tracked her scent across the border in Dover, New Hampshire, and believe that she may have gotten into a vehicle, said Small.

Rear’s cellphone has not been located, and Small said he believes she could have it with her, although the last time it was powered on appears to have been at Rear’s apartment before her disappearance. No activity has been detected since then, he said.

Police in Sanford are asking anyone who drives through the Route 4 rotary regularly to call police if they recall seeing anything odd or remember seeing a woman on foot around Jan. 22.

“No matter how small the information is, call us. I’ll call you back,” Small said.

Anyone with information on Rear’s whereabouts is asked to call Small at 324-9170, ext. 227. Anonymous tips can be left at 324-9170, option 4.

Matt Byrne can be contacted at 791-6303 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: MattByrnePPH

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