HOLLAND, Mich. (WOOD) - A 36-year-old Holland mother of three has not been seen in more than a week after leaving for a "retreat" in the Traverse City area.
Emelene Joy VanDyke has been missing from her home in the 500 block of College Avenue since leaving on the weekend of February 14.
According to police, she took some vacation time, and was expected to return to work on February 19, but did not show up. VanDyke's employer contacted her ex-husband, who has legal custody of her three children, to tell him that she did not show up. The ex-husband then reported VanDyke as missing.
VanDyke was last seen by her upstairs neighbor. She also sent a text message at around 6 p.m. that day, after purchasing a new car from a local dealership and withdrawing a significant amount of money from her bank.
All surveillance photos show VanDyke alone, and there was no suspicious behavior reported from people who spoke to her.
Investigators are concerned because her cell phone and debit card has not been used since February 14.
On Saturday, police found out that Emelene, aka "Em", visited Gun Lake Casino in Wayland several times before her disappearance. Officers spent Saturday interviewing the last people that spoke with her again.
Big Rapids police told 24 Hour News 8 their interest in this case is piqued because of the disappearance around the same time of Fred Byrne.
Byrne, 49, has been missing since Feb. 12 when he dropped off his son at Hope College in Holland. After visiting his mother, he told her he was going to RiverTown Crossings Mall in Grandville.
Byrne's Chevy Malibu was found Feb. 14 parked along a forest service road near Van Buren, Mo., which is about 160 miles southwest of St. Louis and 560 miles from where he was last seen in Michigan.
Big Rapids investigators said Byrne's wallet and keys were in the car, along with about $4 in the center console.
The police in Big Rapids met with the Byrne family about VanDyke while the Holland police met with her family about Byrne. Investigators are interested because both people vanished around the same time, and neither has been able to be traced at all electronically (debit or credit cards or cell phones.)
Authorities have not established any connection between the two.
VanDyke was last seen driving the new car she purchased, which is a gray 4-door, 2013 Hyundai Accent. Her license plate number is CGE1862.
She has sandy blonde hair, hazel eyes, and is around 5 feet 7 inches in height and approximately 200 pounds.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Holland Department of Public Safety at (616) 355-1100 or the detectives at 355-1150. You can also email investigators at firstname.lastname@example.org
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