NVERNESS, Fla. (WFLA) — Citrus County grandmother Carol McHugh vanished without a trace five years ago today in June 2017.

Carol’s daughter Colleen remains heartbroken. However, she is hopeful that someone may have information about her mother’s disappearance.

“It is torturous,” McHugh said. “That’s the best way I can describe it.”

Carol McHugh was loved by everyone she met. The grandmother with a heart of gold spent a lifetime as a nurse, on a mission to help others. But it was Carol who needed help when she disappeared one afternoon in the summer of 2017.

That’s when the search for this Inverness woman began, and it continues to this day.

“She’s a mom, a grandmother, a loved members of the community,” Sheriff Mike Prendergast said.

The sheriff said missing persons cases are a top priority.

In fact, his agency has teamed up with a non-profit called Find-M’Friends, Inc. to provide free “Out of Harms way Kits” where a person’s scent is sealed, just in case.

Sheriff Prendergast said the kit has saved lives in his county.

“Thirty-six percent of the residents in Citrus County are over the age of 65,” Prendergast said. “We’re the fourth oldest county per-capita in the United States of America.”

Sheriff Prendergast wanted to remind everyone the kits are free and can be picked up at any sheriff’s office location.

During the initial search for Carol, the sheriff’s office spent more than 3,000 hours searching more than 23 square miles, which equated to 14,720 acres. Sadly no clues were found to find Carol. 

Colleen said she wakes up every morning missing her mother, wishing for answers and hoping that someone will come forward with clues in this case.

“Every time I look in the mirror, I see her, I look so much like her. In the beginning, when she went missing, I thought to myself, ‘I’m seeing my mom,’” Colleen McHugh told 8 On Your Side during an exclusive interview. “I see my mom, it’s like saying hello.”

Carol’s daughter said her mother was suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease. The 72 year old wandered off that day from her own home and was, sadly, never heard from again.

Citrus County Sheriff’s Office’s K9s picked up a scent during a search in the initial investigation, but what they detected stopped abruptly near Carol’s home.

“I personally feel somebody else is involved,” Colleen said. “How can she be missing for so long? There’s just too many questions, and I just don’t believe it’s just she walked off somewhere.”

Citrus County Sheriff Prendergast said there is no evidence of foul play in connection with McHugh’s disappearance and as Colleen continues to search, she said she won’t give up anytime soon giving high praise to sheriff’s detectives and to members of the community.

“Citrus County is family,” she said.

Despite constant searches by Citrus detectives and the community, Carol McHugh remains missing, and even though it’s been nearly four years, it never gets easier for those who love Carol the most.

“I would at least like to try and find her remains, and then find out exactly. The bottom line is to have her interred with my dad,” Collen said.

Those who live in the area will soon see banners and flyers in the next few weeks, reminding people about the disappearance of Carol McHugh.

Carol McHugh is 5-feet-1-inch tall and weighs 113 lbs. She has short brown hair and was wearing a tan shirt with brown stripes and a large collar and dark-colored pants.

If you have any information please call the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office at 352-726-4488.