Area law enforcement are looking for a woman who sent a text message to her mother that she had been kidnapped, officials said.
Lauderdale County Sheriff Ronnie Willis said investigators and deputies are looking for Ashley Nicole Barrett Sterry, 29, who lives on Lauderdale 89, which is in the Grassy community between Lexington and Anderson near the Tennessee state line.
“She sent her mother a text this morning around 5 a.m. that she had been kidnapped and was being held in a block building,” Lauderdale County sheriff’s investigator Brad Potts said.
He said the last text from Sterry to her mother, who lives on Lauderdale 5 in the western part of the county, was around 8:15 Thursday morning.
“She asked for her cellphone to be traced,” Potts said. “But right after her mother got the message, the cellphone was turned off.”
He said there is no way to trace where a call originated if the cellphone is turned off.
Reports indicate Sterry lives with her boyfriend. Potts said the boyfriend is an over-the-road truck driver and returned to town Thursday.
Authorities said in her text message, Sterry indicated she was kidnapped while parked at the intersection of Alabama 64 and Lauderdale 89, which is 3-4 miles from her house.
Investigators said they found her car at her house with her purse, personal items and keys inside the vehicle.
Investigators said Sterry’s family told them she has never done anything like this before.
“That’s why we’re treating it as a kidnapping at this point,” Potts said.
Willis said deputies are developing leads.
“Our guys are doing everything they possibly can at this point to try and find her,” he said.
Willis said investigators spent most of the day Thursday talking to family and friends.
Potts said the only thing left to do is go door to door asking neighbors if they have seen Sterry or know anything about her disappearance.
Sterry is described as 5 feet tall and weighing 110 pounds with brown eyes and shoulder length brown hair.
Anyone with any information is asked to call the sheriff’s office at 256-760-5757 or Shoals CrimeStoppers at 256-386-8685.
Tom Smith can be reached at 256-740-5757 or tom.smith@TimesDaily.com.