Heartache and uncertainty: One year since Amherst woman vanished

Elsie Wiggington has not been seen or heard from since last June

AMHERST COUNTY, Va. – It’s been almost a year since Amherst woman Elsie Wigginton vanished.

“My oldest son asked every day for the first couple months to go see grandma,” Elsie’s daughter Sativa Rucker said.

A year her daughter Sativa Rucker said has been filled with more questions than answers.

“And I didn’t know what to tell him,” Rucker said.

10 News sat down with Tracey Coleman, Elsie’s foster sister.

She tells us around the end of last June, Elsie made plans to come live with her in Maryland, desperate to escape a domestic violence situation with her husband.

“She called me and said ‘Trace, I’m scared.’ and I said, ‘What’s going on Elsie?’ and she said, ‘He’s going to kill me,’” Coleman said.

Coleman tells us Elsie’s relationship with her husband was volatile at best, and their history of abuse wasn’t a secret.

On several occasions, Elsie had attempted to leave, then changed her mind, which is why Coleman wasn’t too concerned when Elsie didn’t turn up at first, but when days turned to weeks, she knew something was wrong.

“I had never heard her voice quite as heightened as she was, the emotion,” Coleman said.

Coleman reached out to friends and family, but no one had heard from her.

Rucker, last hearing from her mom on June 25.

“We just had a mundane conversation. I asked her about a recipe. Nothing seemed off. She said she was playing one of her phone games, and that was the last time I heard from her,” she said.

Her family and friends filed a missing persons report with the Amherst County Sheriff’s Office, as did her job when she didn’t show up for her shift as a nurse.

“They said they would do some looking into it, but they said it seemed like she just left by herself,” Rucker said.

They continued to press law enforcement for answers, sure that she would never leave, but got nowhere.

That is until her nursing license expired on April 30, the last thing Coleman said Elsie would ever let happen.

That’s when the Amherst County Sheriff’s Office started diving into her case.

But 10 News wanted to see why the case wasn’t further investigated until now, so we went to talk with Sheriff Jimmy Ayers.

Ayers wouldn’t do an on camera interview, but tells us he was not the sheriff when Elsie went missing, and once he found out about the case, he was extremely concerned.

He said just over a week ago, they tapped into Virginia State Police resources for help.

Coleman tells us they fault former leadership in the office.

“It’s extremely frustrating. It should have been taken seriously then, and even now there are things that limit what police and law enforcement can do,” Coleman said.

Rucker just wants answers at this point, good or bad.

“If she can’t be found, I just want to know she’s safe,” Rucker said.

10 News also located Elsie Wiggington’s husband and reached out to him for comment. However, he has not gotten back to her yet.

There’s no word on if any charges are pending in this case.

About the Author

Abbie Coleman officially joined the WSLS 10 News team in January 2023.

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