Family and community converge on Spruce Mountain as search for Cassie Sheetz continues

West Virginia

RIVERTON, W.Va. — For the first time since her daughter’s disappearance on March 12th, Arlene Shelton stepped out onto the top of Spruce Knob. Twice before she searched for Cassie on trails lower down the mountain. Now, she said she comes to the top but hoped she didn’t find anything.

“I hope as a mom that I don’t come across something like that,” said Shelton. “I don’t know what I would do if I did.”

The group followed the trail, occasionally wandering off about 30 feet to look.

About 100 people converge on at the peak of Spruce Mountain on Sunday morning for a search party. They split into groups and wandered along the Huckleberry and 274 trailheads. Among those in the search party were Sheetz’s and Shelton’s family, but also included members of the community who heard about the situation and wanted to pitch in.

“We just heard about it and it struck my heart. Just wanted to come out here and help,” said Jesse Perez, who stayed overnight in Pendleton County in preparation for the search.

“It tells me my community is a lot better than I thought. It’s shocking, it really is, to see the people and the support that we have. It means a lot.”

arlene shelton

Seven months since Sheetz was last seen, leads dried up and and police backed off the case. So, Shelton took it upon herself to look for signs of her daughter. Just as important, she looked for closure.

“It’s everything,” she said. “She’s my best friend.”

Shelton said that even if she did not find clues along the trails she walked, she’ll simply move onto the next until she finds her daughter.

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