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Family searches for Piedmont mother who vanished in Houston after failing to get on plane

East Bay mother of 2 missing after not boarding SFO-bound flight in Texas
East Bay mother of 2 missing after not boarding SFO-bound flight in Texas 02:59

It's been five days since 36-year-old Piedmont resident and mother of two Danielle "Dani" Friedland vanished in Houston.

A photo of her taken the day before Thanksgiving at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston where she was last seen shows her wearing a light puffy navy jacket with an orange stripe.

Her family said she checked her bag but never boarded the plane bound for SFO. They said she had been experiencing a mental health crisis over the last few months.

Her husband Jordan Friedland is with family and friends in Houston desperately searching for her.

"My biggest fear is just, honestly, Dani's safety," he told KHOU. "We have a two and five-year-old and she's the best mom in the world – and their world won't be the same without her."

Dani spent seven weeks at The Menninger Clinic, a well-known psychiatric hospital in Houston, getting treatment. She was scheduled to return to the Bay Area for the holidays and planned to continue treatment in California.

It's believed she left the airport in a taxi, with only $160 and a debit card. Police said she intentionally left her phone behind. 

She's also at high risk due to her suicidal ideations. Danielle Friedland has been diagnosed with depression, mood disorder, psychosis and anxiety. 

"There were a couple of apparent sightings yesterday, but nothing has turned up yet," said Jordan Friedland.

He said, with therapy and medication, she was making remarkable progress.

KPIX's Betty Yu spoke to a neighbor in Piedmont who didn't want to show his face on camera.

"I think being a parent you might see other parents who might be getting a little bit burned out from your kids and stuff like that, but nothing that would have given me that indication that she was thinking bad thoughts," he said. 

Dani's family has also met with Houston's homeless outreach team to find her. She made previous statements that led them to visit homeless encampments in the area.

"She's always been incredibly pleasant, I mean we've seen her running in the neighborhood, taking the kids to school, going to see friends and things of that nature," said Dani's neighbor. "I've had multiple discussions with her since we've been here that she's happy. She's smiling when we were talking."

A few neighbors said they believe she was a stay-at-home mom and was looking for a job, perhaps as an accountant.  

"Mental health is brutal. Anxiety, depression, these aren't things you can always see," said her neighbor. 

"She really is an amazing person – just want to bring her home and make sure she's safe," Jordan told KHOU. 

In a statement, The Menninger Clinic's CEO said:

"We are aware of the news coverage about this unfortunate event.

Because of patient confidentiality, we cannot confirm the status of any patient or provide any information without patient consent.

We are deeply saddened by this situation and our hearts go out to the family."

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