AVON, Ind. – Police say they’re not ruling out anything in the disappearance of an Avon mother as the desperate search for her continues.
Najah Ferrell, 30, was last seen in the early morning hours of March 15. Since then, police have recovered items belonging to her near I-65 and Lafayette Road. They found her car at 86th Street and Michigan Road.
Still, they don’t know what happened to her. During a news conference Thursday, Brian Nugent deputy chief of investigations for the Avon Police Department, revealed the large scope of the investigation. Police have served more than 30 search warrants for electronic records, vehicles and homes. They’ve conducted about 40 interviews.
Ferrell has three foster children and two biological children. She had just started a job at Panera before her disappearance. Her family said she would never leave them willingly. Her mother, Paula Gholsen, described Najah as her best friend.
“I love my child and I tried to teach her to love others the same way,” Gholsen said. “She was a giving, giving young lady. We were like best friends. She would tell me sometimes and tease and say, ‘Mom, you’re my best friend. Darn, my mother [is] my best friend.’ But that’s okay. That’s a good thing.”
She said she appreciated the amount of work the Avon Police Department has done so far.
“The Avon Police Department has just been phenomenal in what they do,” Gholsen said. “Det. Nugent assured me that he will do this case as though it was his own family member, and that set me at peace with that.”
Seeds of Life, a foster care organization, is offering a $2,500 reward for information leading to Ferrell’s return or whereabouts. Anyone with information should call Crime Stoppers at (317) 262-TIPS.
“Please call that number for Crime Stoppers,” Gholsen said.
“I wouldn’t want any mother to ever, ever have to deal with anything like this, any other family,” Gholsen said, fighting through tears. “I miss her and she should be here. And her boys, they have never been without their mother.”
On the investigative side of the case, Nugent said detectives were tracking down leads and developing new information. Indiana State Police are helping in the search and the Federal Bureau of Investigation has volunteered its resources. Investigators were especially interested in any odd behavior or activity anyone noticed near the areas where her property and car were found.
“Somebody knows something,” Nugent said. “So we are pleading to the public, that if you are that somebody who thinks they may know something, you do not have to have an absolute understanding of the information that you have. You don’t have to be 100 percent accurate on what your thoughts or assumptions can be. That is the responsibility of law enforcement and our detectives.”
Nugent said detectives weren’t ruling out any possibility, including a medical condition or even a possible abduction. He said it was extremely important that investigators didn’t get too “locked in” to certain theories.
Nugent revealed that a construction worker found property belonging to Ferrell along I-65 and Lafayette Road. The material has been sent to a crime lab for further examination. An IMPD officer found her car at 86th Street and Michigan Road. He said investigators will continue to press.
"We will not stop tonight. We will not stop next week. We will not stop this year," Nugent said of the search. "We will never stop until we can find Najah and bring her home to her family."