INKSTER, N.D. — As the search continues for Anne Fitzsimonds, more details are being revealed about the circumstances around the night of her disappearance, and personal details that have deepened the mystery.
Fitzsimonds' older brother, George Niece, says the past nine days have been full of tears and frustration. He has temporarily left his job in the Twin Cities to launch a nonstop search for her, and he is offering a $5,000 dollar reward for the tip that leads him to his sister.
"Scary, so scary. On one hand you want to find her, but on the other hand you don't want to find her; you just want her home," he said with tears.
Fitzsimonds walked away from a small gathering around 1:30 a.m. that Sunday morning on Sept. 27 wearing only a leather jacket, jeans and cowboy boots. She wasn't dressed for the windy weather and 29-degree temperatures. She had also been drinking and possibly using drugs.
"There was no reason for her to leave. Why she left nobody seems to be able to tell us," said Niece.
Police believe she may have tried to walk the 26 miles to her home in Inkster.
"There's no way; 26 miles is a marathon," said Niece.
Numerous ground and air searches by police, family, friends and community members have turned up no clues. All together 20 square miles have been covered.
"It was absolutely daunting. There is so much out there," Niece said.
According to the Nelson County Sheriff's Department, there have been two potential sightings, one on the afternoon she disappeared at a gas station in the town of Michigan on Highway 2. Another was two days later south of Cando.
"She has a habit of going away for a few weeks at a time, but she usually contacts someone," said Nelson County Sheriff Keith Olson.
Now that more than a week has passed, Niece says he can only suspect something evil has happened. He describes his sister as a very loving person, but admits she has battled drug addiction for years. Adding to the mystery was the discovery that Fitzsimonds has several cellphones, including a burner phone. She recently cheated on her husband of nearly 30 years; the new boyfriend ended up with the truck she was driving the night of her disappearance.
"In this case there was a love triangle, I think, and I think there is drugs; that's going to be money. It doesn't look good," explained Niece.
Police are not calling Fitzsimonds' disappearance suspicious at this point, but say the new boyfriend driving the truck around is odd. They also haven't been able to look at it, because Fitzsimonds recently added a friend's name to the title.
"We are getting some conflicting stories from the people we have been contacting," said Olson.
Niece said his family is trying to remain optimistic that his little sister will be found alive, but as each day goes by, it gets harder and harder.
"I'm going to find her — that I know. I am going to find her, whether it's one day, or 100 days or a thousand days, or the last day I breathe, I just don't know. It's super scary. Anne, where are you?" he said, in tears.