With the investigation of Linnea Lomax being handed to the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office, one woman seeks to find her own missing daughter with ties to the county.
Kristi Deann Merrill, 25, was last seen in Carmichael on March 23, leaving her mother’s house and saying she would be back by 11 p.m. She never returned.
Kristi was to go to the Paul Mitchell School. “Kristi, a new mother nearly ready to return to college, was scared, (under) pressure, but excited and happy,” her mother, Bryn Barton, wrote in an e-mail to the Mountain Democrat.
Barton described Merrill on a Facebook page she maintains, Help Find Kristi Merrill, as “ looking forward to being out of the house, making new friends and being a mom who could support her daughter. She had all her uniforms washed, checks in a folder ready to go. No indication or events leading up to her not wanting to return to her family and baby girl.”
With Merrill gone, Barton, who works for the Department of Justice, was left to care for her own granddaughter, Adisyn, 18 months old.
Merrill, Barton said in the e-mail, has strong ties to El Dorado County. “She was a Union Mine cheerleader who cheered at the Pro Bowl in Hawaii, attending Young Life, Green Valley Community Church Youth Group, volunteered at Marshall (Hospital) and as the Marshall Mouse at the Fair, as well as interned at El Dorado County Adult Protective Services.” Merrill’s father and sister, Rob and Mindi Merrill, who also “miss her and want her home, too,” also live in El Dorado County.
Sacramento Sheriff’s Office told Barton that they had received a call from Merrill, but she is not so sure it was her daughter who contacted them, she wrote on the Facebook page.
“I don’t understand why they would identify someone over the phone without physically seeing them in person; anybody could have been on the line,” Barton is quoted on the Facebook page, where she mentions that the phone number the call was received from was not Merrill’s. “She may be an adult but she has been diagnosed as having mental health issues.” Much like Lomax, Merrill had prescription medication that she did not take with her.
Also much like Lomax, Merrill was declared to have voluntarily left home, with no crime suspected. Barton, however, believes otherwise. “She might be dead,” she wrote in the e-mail, also worrying that her daughter could have gotten caught in sex trafficking.
Now, Barton is turning to the county her daughter once called home, saying that while she was in El Dorado County, Merrill was “a bright spot in everyone’s life, a beautiful cheerleader” at Union Mine, Barton said in the e-mail. “She was so loved there.”
Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Kristi Merrill can call 530-885-2624 or 916-322-5062 with information.