The family of a Richmond woman who has not been seen in a month say they will not give up the search for answers in her disappearance.

Anneliese Heinig Courtesy photo

Anneliese Heinig, 37, was last seen on the morning of Nov. 26 walking away from her parked Mercury Mariner SUV along the side of Interstate 295 in Falmouth near where the highway crosses the Presumpscot River. Her family realized she was missing two days later when she did not show up for Thanksgiving dinner.

An intensive search followed her disappearance and lasted for days, focusing on the river around the overpass, but nothing was found. Officers with the Maine Marine Patrol returned to the area near the Presumpscot in Falmouth to search from the air using a single-engine float plane last week, said Falmouth police Lt. Frank Soule.

Members of Heinig’s family also searched sections of the coast this past weekend, Soule said.

“The daily search has slowed,” Soule said. “We periodically recheck some shoreline where we knew she was. Our efforts have remained in where she was last known to be.”

Since the disappearance, Heinig’s father, Chris Heinig, said he’s been coming to terms with the fact that the search will likely be a recovery effort. His daughter’s absence has also made the holiday season that much more difficult.

“We’re not going to give up,” he said. “We want to find her.”

Friends, family and community members gather at a candlelight vigil for missing Richmond woman Anneliese Heinig at the Brunswick Town Mall on Dec. 6. Brianna Soukup/Staff Photographer

Friends of Anneliese Heinig and other members of the Harpswell community have rallied around the family, Chris Heinig said.

Strangers and friends alike have delivered presents for Heinig’s two children, ages 5 and 16, while others have helped stock their kitchen with home-cooked meals.

“It’s such a generous thing on the part of the community, and we are so thankful and grateful to them, to all of them,” Chris Heinig said.

Anneliese Heinig was apparently alone when she walked away from her vehicle, and left her car keys, wallet and cellphone in the SUV. One passing motorist spotted her about 6:30 a.m., but no one else reported seeing the mother of two.

A state police trooper stopped to check on the vehicle around 8:30 a.m., but did not attempt to make contact with the vehicle’s owners. By 1:30 p.m., about seven hours after Heinig was last seen on the side of the road, a Maine Department of Transportation employee asked that Heinig’s SUV be towed. Two days later, she was reported missing and her parents learned the car had been found and towed away. A search began in the area where the vehicle had stopped.

Falmouth police Lt. Frank Soule looks out on the Presumpscot River from the bridge on Route 9 in Falmouth during the initial search for Anneliese Heinig. Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

When she was first reported missing, crews from the Maine Warden Service, state police dive team, Falmouth police and the Maine Marine Patrol scoured the river and the bay looking for any signs of Heinig, but found none. The search also included aircraft used to scan the tidal river’s shoreline.

The family said Heinig struggled in the past with mental health problems, often requiring police to get involved. Richmond officers went to Heinig’s address 23 times in 2019 alone. In one instance two years ago, a Richmond police office responding to a family fight at Heinig’s home ended up driving her to Midcoast Hospital after she threatened to harm herself. During the car ride, the officer reported, Heinig threatened to throw herself off a bridge.

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