Six years to the day after Brandy Hanna disappeared, North Charleston police have found what may be the most significant clue yet in the case:
Donna Parent, Hanna’s mother, said Friday that a shoe found near the old Navy Base almost certainly belonged to her daughter.
“We’re 99 percent positive,” Parent said. “It’s the same color, the same brand and it dates to January 2005. Brandy is going to be found, I have no doubt.”
The shoe was found just blocks from the Florida Avenue apartment where Hanna was last seen before she vanished without a trace. State archaeologists will begin a search of the area on Monday, a dig expected to last three days.
On Friday, May 20, 2005, Hanna worked an early shift at Alex’s Restaurant on Dorchester Road before getting a ride home that afternoon from a customer. She had big plans for the weekend — shopping Friday night, a trip to the beach on Saturday, breakfast with her mother and brother on Sunday.
Parent talked to her daughter by phone that evening. Hanna sent a text message to a friend at 8 p.m., and another to a boyfriend just after 10 p.m.
And then, nothing.
Hanna left behind her clothes, her money and an apartment devoid of clues. Police questioned her boyfriend at the time, Zeke Lankford, as well as a former boyfriend, Ray McAdams. Both men passed polygraph tests. Lacking any other clues, the case has languished for years.
Over the years, Parent has tried to keep a spotlight on the case, hosting candlelight vigils on the day of her disappearance and on her birthday, Nov. 16. A balloon release, in fact, is scheduled for 7 p.m. this evening at Alex’s Restaurant on Dorchester Road.
Parent has lived for six years with the agony of not knowing what happened to her eldest child, going through a roller coaster of emotions every time an unidentified body is found. She has engaged national missing persons organizations and even talked to psychics. One psychic led police to the location where the shoe was found.
As crews begin their search on Monday, Parent said she doesn’t plan to observe the dig.
“That is not the last image of my child I want,” she said.
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