On the afternoon of Thursday, January 27, 2011, Vickie Ellington pulled her Chevrolet Suburban into the Wal-Mart parking lot in Louisville, MS. Reportedly, the fifty-three year old business owner and grandmother was going to meet someone there. Video cameras from several stores show Ms. Ellington park in the front lot and exit her vehicle, but walk away from Walmart--towards a McDonalds and Taco Bell across the street. She then walks out of range from all the cameras and vanishes.
Vickie Ellington has not been seen since.
Investigating Suicide as a Theory
Last time I discussed how authorities would want to learn as much as possible about the potential stressors in Ms. Ellington's life at the time of her disappearance.
Were there factors that would support a suicide theory?
Here are some aspects that investigators would explore:
Raising her Grandchild
As mentioned above, Ms. Ellington was fifty-three years old and a grandmother at the time of her disappearance. In the information that I found, she had four grandchildren, but had primary custody of one of them--an elementary school-aged boy. Raising children is certainly hard work. Raising children the second time around as a grandparent certainly requires a special person.
Death of a Spouse
In December of 2008, Ms. Ellington's husband, Drury "Denver" Ellington, passed away. He was under hospice care at time of death, and was only 51 years old. I have a friend, also a grandmother, who is currently raising two grandchildren--taking over for her daughter who has substance abuse problems. This grandmother's husband recently died as well. She calls being a parent again (and this time alone) the most challenging experience that she has ever faced.
Sometime between 2009 and 2011, Ms. Ellington sold part of her business "Attala Discount Drugs," and then closed the gift shop portion of that operation. She remained owner and operator of another store in Kosciusko: Attala Fitness and Tanning--which held a "grand reopening" ceremony in March of 2010. Also, in her husband's obituary, he was listed as an owner of both businesses.
With her husband and business partner gone, did she have to make a decision as to what she could handle herself? How were the pharmacy and gift shop performing in terms of profitability? What about the fitness center?
It is unclear what drove Ms. Ellington's business decisions, but certainly entrepreneurs can have very stressful lives.
Now, Ms. Ellington had possible sources of stress like these, but seemed to be handling the responsibilities well. Authorities have not released any information that would indicate suicide as a possible reason for the disappearance.
And again, the area where she disappeared was searched thoroughly and no body was found.
So, is there anything that authorities would want to know more about in evaluating a suicide theory?
A few days after the disappearance, a local television reporter interviewed Ms. Ellington's adult son, Adam.
As a disclaimer, I realize that editing and comfort level of the individual in front of a camera should be taken into account in judging every interview.
But still, his comments are odd.
On the video, the reporter's question to Adam was edited out, but it was something like: "What do you think happened?"
You can watch her son's response by clicking here (specifically: 046-057) or I typed his response below:
"I know she had a bunch of plans for the next, at least the first half of this year, and stuff that she wanted to get done, so I doubt she would do anything to herself. Umm. So, I mean I don't know what happened to her, but I certainly wasn't expecting her to disappear."
Not the answer I was expecting from a son about his mom's disappearance.
He seems to deflect the question about suicide.
And, what does he mean that she had plans for the "first half" of the year and that he did not think she would do something to herself?
Is there more that he wanted to say?
Strange and worthy of some follow-up work by detectives.
In sum, nothing released by authorities would indicate that this missing person case is suicide.
So, I'll move on.
Next time, I'll examine what investigators would do to explore a second possible theory: Vickie Ellington chose to disappear.
And, remember this peculiar interview with her son, I will use it again in discussing another potential explanation in this missing persons case.
For all of my posts on the Ellington case you can click here, or for more Missing Person Monday posts, go here.