City woman missing; police, family seek help

Becky Campbell • Oct 2, 2012 at 3:58 PM

––––– This article has been updated to correct an error in the timeline of events leading to the discovery of Donaldson's vehicle. –––––

A Johnson City woman said her 28-year-old daughter is missing, and police investigators are questioning a man found with the woman’s car.

“They have impounded her car and are processing it now,” said Rosie Jenkins, Vonda Berry Marshall Donaldson’s mother.

Donaldson was last seen Saturday after her father’s wedding when she dropped her children off with their dad.

“We don’t have a whole lot right now,” said Johnson City Police Capt. Mike Street. “We’re looking at it as a missing person with suspicious surroundings and possibly foul play. The whole thing is out of character with her.”

He said investigators learned Donaldson was seen a little before midnight Saturday with Steven Bennett, who Street called Donaldson’s boyfriend.

Officers came across her car at Leeland Trailer Park early Monday morning.

“The boyfriend, he was in the car. She wasn’t there. We took possession of the car and we got the boyfriend in and questioned him,” Street said.

“We did find some suspicious things in the car. Until we do a little more testing on them forensic wise we can’t” be more specific, he said.

Street said investigators did locate some of Donaldson’s identification in the vehicle, but have not found her phone.

Bennett has not been charged in connection with Donaldson’s disappearance, but he was arrested on a parole violation. Street did not say what kind of prison sentence Bennett had served or how long he had been on parole.

Jenkins just wants information to help find her daughter and bring her home safely.

“All I know is she was going to have some drinks at her house. She doesn’t drink around her children,” Jenkins said. Jenkins had little reason to worry until 7:30 a.m. when her daughter’s dog showed up at her house.

Jenkins said her daughter’s Antioch Road apartment is very close to her house on Wheeler Street. When Jenkins returned the dog, she said her daughter’s apartment door was unlocked and slightly opened, another unusual thing.

“She always keeps her door locked,” Jenkins said.

Still, with the dog out, Jenkins thought her daughter might just be out looking for it. Jenkins tried to call her daughter, but the phone was off, she said.

“When I went back at 9 she still wasn’t home. We tried calling, texting (and) got nothing,” she said. Around 11:30 a.m. Sunday, a post turned up on Donaldson’s facebook profile.

There were also a couple of text messages to Donaldson’s ex-husband stating she was fine and asking “if the law had been called,” Jenkins said.

“That’s not (like) her. The first thing she would have done is asked about her children,” Jenkins said. When her daughter didn’t show up to pick up her children Sunday evening, that told Jenkins something was really wrong.

“She wouldn’t not show up to get her kids,” without calling, Jenkins said.

Street said investigators will re-interview witnesses today in hopes of finding more information that will lead to finding Donaldson.

“We’re hoping some of the forensic tests will tell us more,” he said.

Friends and family have set up a Facebook page — Missing Help Find Vonda Berry Marshall Donaldson — to get the word out, and anyone with information about Donaldson can call the Johnson City Police Department at 434-6158.

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