A Riverside woman reported missing by her family and who was last seen by them almost two weeks ago converted a large sum of cash into silver coins before she left, was briefly hospitalized on March 11 in North Carolina and bought a large amount of non-perishable food on March 13 from a grocery store about 35 miles southwest of Asheville, North Carolina, according to police.
Chief Thomas Weitzel said detectives obtained the new information after reaching out to the public for assistance on Monday, a day after Lisa Ann Vais’ husband reported her missing. Vais had left her Riverside home on March 5, purportedly to visit her son in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
According to Weitzel, family members say the 55-year-old Vais is in “extreme emotional distress,” and he added that “it is imperative we find her as soon as possible.”
Prior to leaving, Vais reportedly converted $20,000 in cash into silver coins and left home with “a significant amount of cash,” according to police.
Police previously reported that Vais had either turned off her cellphone or the phone’s battery had died, because her phone stopped pinging her location at 2 a.m. on March 14. She was last known to have been in the vicinity of Murphy, North Carolina, in the far southwest corner of the state.
But police have learned that on March 11, Vais was briefly treated at Advent Health Hospital in Fletcher, North Carolina, about 15 miles south of Asheville. She was reportedly taken to the hospital by a friend after complaining of a “heart problem,” but Vais was released from the emergency room after doctors found no reason to keep her there.
Two days later, on March 13 at 5:13 p.m., Vais visited a Food Lion grocery store in Brevard, North Carolina, where she spent $3,100 on non-perishable food, reportedly telling the cashier “she was making this purchase because she was going to be gone for a long time and would not be near a grocery store.”
Riverside police interviewed store employees, who said Vais was alone and that they assisted her with loading the food into her vehicle. The store’s management also sent police surveillance camera video from inside the store that shows Vais exiting the store.
Someone also reached out to police on March 15 after news stories about Vais’ disappearance started circulating to report seeing someone matching Vais’ description walking on a roadway at 6:30 p.m. in the area of the John W. Morrow Parkway and Jessie Jewel Parkway in Gainesville, Georgia, about 55 miles northeast of Atlanta.
Police say that sighting is unconfirmed and that Gainesville police had no report of any incident involving Vais.
Anyone with information as to Vais’ whereabouts is asked to call their local police agency or to call 708-447-9191 for the Riverside Police Department. Anonymous tips may also be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.