Family pleads for help on 11th day of elderly woman’s disappearance

Highlands County

HIGHLANDS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – With a lack of leads and no help from technology, law enforcement officials and family members are turning to the public to find a missing elderly woman in Sebring.

“I’m just hoping somebody finds her, somehow,” said Fred Becker, while choking back tears and clutching a photograph of him and his wife, Margaret “Helen” Becker. “She never had no enemies. She was a very friendly lady. She could strike up a conversation with anybody.”

His wife of 42 years was last seen in a Sebring shopping plaza on the evening of January 17. It’s a short 10-15 minute drive from the plaza to the Beckers’ home.

She left the CVS in the Southgate Plaza on US 27 at 4:48 p.m. after picking up a prescription.

“A person who interacted with her inside the store said she did appear confused somewhat but she has not been diagnosed with any kind of cognitive issues,” said Scott Dressel, public information officer for Highlands County Sheriff’s Office.

At 6:05 p.m., she’s seen buying bananas at the Publix in the same shopping plaza.

Last known image of Margaret “Helen” Becker
Courtesy: Highlands County Sheriff’s Office

“We don’t know what she was doing in the 77 minutes in between. There are a lot of stores in that plaza. We’re trying to determine if she went into one of them but right now we have no leads on where she spent that time,” said Dressel.

Surveillance video shows Becker rather unsteady while at the supermarket, according to Dressel.

Once she left Publix, there has been no sign of Becker.

“Usually your cell phone and your Onstar, they’re dropping breadcrumbs and we haven’t been able to find any,” said Dressel.

Military operations at the nearby Avon Park Air Force Bombing Range may have interfered with Becker’s GPS signal, officials say.

Authorities do not suspect foul play.

Becker was driving a blue 2018 Chevrolet Colorado with Ohio tag number HOB8214.

NOT THE ACTUAL VEHICLE. (Photo: Highlands County Sheriff’s Office)

“Anything – please call. Please. We just need some leads,” said Sheri Becker Unger, Margaret Becker’s step-daughter. “We don’t know what direction. We’re willing to do search parties, we’re willing to do whatever we can but we just have no direction.”

The Highlands County Sheriff’s Office is asking for the public’s help to find Becker or her truck.

“As you’re driving around, if you see where it looks like a car may have left the road and gone into the woods, or something where it looks like there may have been accident please call and let us know,” said Dressel.

Highlands County detectives can be reached by phone at 863-402-7200 or email at detectives@highlandssheriff.org.

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