‘I fear that we’re not going to find her.’ Missing Oklahoma woman last seen during encounter with Tonkawa police


TONKAWA, Okla. (KFOR) – An Oklahoma family is desperately searching for their missing loved one. 

According to Tonkawa Police Department, Cathy Ann James, 60, was last seen in Tonkawa on September 4. 

“I am sad, and I just want her to come home,” said Britany Beal, James’ niece. “I just want to know where she is. That’s what I’m feeling.”

Photo goes with story
Cathy Ann James

KFOR has obtained body-cam footage of the last time she was seen. James has been missing for eighteen days now. 

Tonkawa police told KFOR James accidentally walked into someone else’s home, thinking she was in a different town on September 4. 

“She thought she was in Muskogee or Okmulgee, Oklahoma, which Tonkawa is far away from those cities,” said Police Chief Nick Payne with the Tonkawa Police Department. 

“It’s been this long. It’s been too long, way too long that nobody has heard from her or saw her,” said Beal. 

James’ confusion is raising concerns for officers, so they complete a mental health evaluation. 

“Unfortunately, this has been some of what history with her. She had some mental health issues in the past,” said Payne. 

Police decided she was mentally stable enough to drive away, so they let her go. The last people to see her were those officers on September 4. 

“I fear that we’re not going to find her. I fear that she is somewhere that nobody can’t find her,” said Beal. 

The last clue authorities have about where James is her abandoned white Dodge Charger car. It was found on the side of the road on I-35, south of Perry, Oklahoma.

James’ personal belongings were still inside. 

“The other alarming thing is that her phone was also left in the car,” said Payne. 

“It doesn’t make sense,” said Beal. “Her car being left there and no signs of her, to me, I feel like someone picked her up.”

Police fear the same, also worried James may be lost again. Their final words to her back on September 4 are haunting.

“I fear we don’t get to bring her home. That’s what I fear,” said Beal. “As long as it’s been, I fear that we don’t get to bring her home, or we don’t get to find her or if we found her and she’s not alive.”

James was not a Tonkawa resident, but that was the last place she was seen. The OSBI is helping with this case. Anyone with information about James’ disappearance, please call 1-800-522-8017. 

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