Pregnant Woman Missing After Park Date

Police cite two "persons of interest" in the disappearance of Lauren Barnes.


Nov. 28, 2007 — -- An organized search was launched this morning for a pregnant Oklahoma City woman whose car was discovered earlier this week in a nearby city, but authorities say they have little idea where she might have gone after disappearing last week.

Lauren Barnes, 20, was last seen Friday evening when she told family and friends she was going to a Bethany, Okla., park to meet the father of her baby.

No one has heard from her since.

Barnes' mother reported her missing Saturday, and on Sunday police found her locked car at the park, which appeared to be left voluntarily. The vehicle was impounded and investigated, but there was no sign of struggle.

"It appears she got out of the car, locked the car up and left," Bethany Police Chief Neal Troutman told ABC News. "But we don't know who she got in the car with."

Troutman confirmed that the man believed to be the father of Barnes' child -- who has not been identified -- is a "person of interest" in the case. So far, the man has been cooperative with authorities.

"We're talking to him on a daily basis," Troutman said. "He hasn't taken off yet."

There is a second person of interest, Troutman said, who may have been exchanging text messages with Barnes the night she disappeared. Police would like to speak to him, but "we're having trouble locating and talking to him," Troutman said.

Barnes, who is five months pregnant, was not carrying her checkbook, and her debit card has not been used since her disappearance.

"Our main concern is that this is just completely out of her realm," Troutman said, explaining that Barnes' family had recently finished a home nursery for the woman's child.

Kathy McDaniel, Barnes' mother, told KOCO in Oklahoma City that she does not believe her daughter went on her own.

"Her cell phone is not turned on, she has her medicine at home upstairs and she doesn't have her car," McDaniel said, adding that it's hard to think about her daughter during the day, but even harder at night.

"It starts getting cold and I wonder if she's somewhere that she needs me," McDaniel said.

Troutman cited recent investigations for missing women that have attracted national attention and said that he hoped elevating the profile of Barnes' case may bring some closure more quickly.

"Several of these incidents have gone awry all over the country," he said. "It's sad, and we're just hoping good things come out of it."

On Tuesday, a church prayer group in Oklahoma City found the body of a woman at a local lake. The discovery drew Bethany authorities investigating Barnes' disappearance to the scene, but the body was quickly determined to be a woman between the ages of 45 and 55.

Police in Oklahoma City are investigating that case as a homicide.

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