ROBESON COUNTY, N.C. (WBTW) — Several dozen people that included deputies and North Carolina Search and Rescue Team members spent Monday looking for a woman missing in the Rowland area of Robeson County.
More than 50 people were involved in the search for Lawrence, who was reported missing Tuesday but last seen in September, Robeson County Sheriff Burnis Wilkins said.
“We hope for the best, but we’re just assuming we’re going to see the worst based on what we’ve found so far,” Sheriff Wilkins said.
The North Carolina Search and Rescue Teams from the State Emergency Management are assisting in the search. Officials searched Monday morning in the area of Hubbard Road, according to Wilkins. The search is the result of information and evidence found in her car, at her residence and near the road.
“We found some evidence along this road late last week that gives us reason to believe she could possibly be here,” Wilkins said. “We’re just going to continue to search for her here. We are awaiting some other information to come in, hopefully later today, that could possibly direct us to another location just a couple of miles from here.”
Crews used drones and cadaver dogs to search the area. The brush was so dense in some areas that crews had to cut through with machetes. Wilkins said those looking for Lawrence also searched several ponds, some of which were chest-deep.
“Some of them are on foot, some of them are on four-wheelers,” Wilkins said. “The cadaver dogs are trying their best to, worst-case scenario, try to locate her.”
Lawrence was reported missing Tuesday by a family member. Deputies originally said she was last seen Sept. 26 leaving her job at Cape Fear Valley Medical Center on Owen Drive in Fayetteville. They later said she was last seen at her home on Coy Road in St. Pauls by a probation officer who came to check on her boyfriend, Michael L. Brayboy, 42, of Rowland. Wilkins said her phone died that evening and was not turned back on.
“It’s one of those where I wish we had a quicker report of her missing,” Wilkins said.
Lawrence’s jeep was found Thursday in Red Springs, and Brayboy was driving the vehicle, according to officials. He was arrested and charged with failure to report a change of address by a sex offender.
Brayboy is being held on a $1.5 million bond. Wilkins said the high amount is because of his criminal history, which includes a 23-year prison sentence for first-degree rape.
Officials are calling Lawrence’s disappearance “suspicious.” The Robeson County Sheriff’s Office is awaiting forensic evidence results from the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Robeson County Sheriff’s Office at 910-671-3170. Count on News13 for updates.