COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) – Today marks four years since the last time one family heard from their daughter, sister, friend, and aunt.
Four years ago today, Columbus woman Erin Collier went missing. News 3 had the opportunity to speak with Sarah Kemp, sister of missing person Erin Collier. She explains what it was like realizing her sister was missing.
“Initially, when we realized something was wrong, we were of course in a panic, and it wasn’t like Erin to not talk to us or return our calls. We were all pretty close and family-oriented. Erin and my mom were best friends and me and my sister were close, so it just wasn’t like her not to return our calls. We knew that something was wrong. So, was more than anything, we wanted our voice to be heard that it wasn’t like her just to walk away,” Kemp explains.
During the years of searching for Erin, her family has done everything they could to try and find her: walking miles, searching trenches, offering cash rewards, and so much more. Kemp explains just one of the many efforts taken to try and bring her sister home.
“I literally searched for her for two years straight, nonstop, falling away from everyone, fading away from my friends, even my family… I went and rented a pump from Home Depot and sucked the water out of a well because someone had said that, you know, she may have been down there and it was of course a rumor but that was like a 17-hour trip that me and my husband had to take as far as sitting out there by the river 17 hours pumping this well that we had no idea where it’s leading us to, or anything,” Kemp says.
Whenever a tip came through about Erin she would take off to look for her, a position she never thought she would be in.
“You see stuff like that on TV and you never, you know, imagine or think, ‘hey, I’m going to be out here passing posters out looking for my sister’ or asking, ‘have you seen her?’ I’ve just pretty much hit a wall and that’s the biggest issue now, just, I don’t know where else to go. There’s nothing else to do, I don’t know. I don’t know what else to do,” Kemp explains.
Although the years go on, the search for Erin continues. Kemp shares the importance of being the voice for her sister and reminds those who may also have a missing loved one, to never stop looking.
“You are your loved one voice now, and don’t let anyone discourage you. Just keep looking for your loved one and never let anyone forget who they are and just constantly remind the community, ‘hey this person was never found.’ We just have to be here and you have to be your loved one’s voice and stand up because if you don’t, who will,” Kemp says.
Members of the community may be familiar the “where’s Erin” sign put up at the intersection of 24th Street and 12th Avenue in Columbus by Kemp. Recently, someone took out the name Erin, and Kemp went back to fix it because the search is far from over.
“I’m doing everything that I can to bring her home. And as long as there’s air in my lungs, I will forever search for her,” she says. “It’s just a reminder for everyone not to forget who she is. And she is not found yet and to find her. Just don’t forget who Erin is.”
Some may just remember the details of Erin’s missing persons flier: she stands 5’3,” weighs about 130 lbs., she has a black rose tattoo on her wrist, but Kemp says everyone needs to remember she is more than a missing person.
“I just want her home. She was a firecracker. She was tough, she was very funny. She loved her family big. She was a very proud aunt. She’s a beautiful person all the way around,” Kemp says.
Kemp is asking anyone with information to come forward, so she can finally lay her sister to rest.
“I’m praying that the person responsible comes forward, even if it’s anonymously. And that may sound bad but when I say that, I mean that, if you could just tell us where she is so that I could bring her home and lay her to rest the proper way.”
Anyone with information is asked to call the Columbus Police Department’s Youth Services Unit at 706-653-3449 or 911.