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'I won't quit': Family of missing woman Darlene Harbison to expand search

Family of missing woman to expand search
Family of missing woman to expand search 03:09

Frazer Township (KDKA) - Family members, friends, and strangers are still searching for Darlene Harbison, a 59-year-old woman from Frazer Township who went missing on Sept. 11.

Her family and even strangers go out into new areas every day to search for Harbison.

"I don't know where they'll find her. It's worse than a nightmare," said Charlotte Ruediger, Harbison's mother.

Ruediger is praying for her daughter to be found soon.

"We're out traveling roads, the back roads, any kind of pull-off, any kind of hillside," said Betty Hoffman, Harbison's sister.

Hoffman has a box full of maps and she highlights the locations they've searched.

"The area is so huge, we're only able to cover so much. We go out in the morning and come back in the evening," Hoffman said.

Friends and strangers have shown support by reaching out to the family or going out on foot to look for Harbison.

"People are calling us up saying, 'Where have you searched? Where do we go next? What direction can you lead us in?'" said Robert Ruediger, Harbison's brother.

Darlene's brother was thankful for the nearly 150 people who showed up to Walter Chapel United Methodist Church in Cheswick on Oct. 8 to comb roadsides and the woods in five townships around Harbison's Frazer Township home.

The Allegheny County Police Department is investigating. Detectives believe that Eric Gibbs is responsible for her disappearance, and the two were in a volatile relationship. Gibbs was found dead from an apparent suicide in the woods in West Deer Township on Sept. 17.

"People were here today. They say they are praying for the family. That's the only thing I have to hang on to. I have to wait until the Lord thinks it's time for me to know where she's at," said Charolette Ruediger.

Harbison has two daughters and four grandchildren who want to find answers.

"My great-nieces and nephews, Brady and Fallon, they're just brokenhearted. Fallon wears her grandmother's clothes every day to feel close to her. It's been very hard," said Hoffman.

The family isn't giving up hope until they find Harbison and get closure. They started to search near Worthington, where Gibbs was from.

They brought fliers to gun shops and sportsmen's clubs to inform hunters. ATV and motorcycle groups have been looking too.

Now, the family is hoping someone can get a better look in the Allegheny River. They're trying to reach river search groups who could expand the search on the water. 

Robert Ruediger said a search group already looked at the Tarentum Bridge, but he hopes someone can search around Allegheny River Lock and Dam 9 because Harbison likes to fish there.

"She's my sister, I won't quit. We have hope, we have faith, she will be found somewhere," Robert Ruediger said.

Allegheny County police said there are no updates on Harbison's case.

They have asked people to call them if they saw Harbison, Gibbs, or the two vehicles associated with Gibbs — a blue Chevy Cobalt and a gray Ford F-150 — on Sept. 10-13. Harbison's family asks the community to also keep an eye out for her black Suzuki KW-250. 

The family said community members can reach out to them if they want to search in areas that haven't been covered yet.

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