Nation Now

The latest from the National desk

« Previous Post | Nation Now Home | Next Post »

Arkansas authorities seek missing mother of 3; torched car found

December 30, 2011 |  9:34 am

Arkansas investigators are continuing their search for Dawna Natzke, a police dispatcher and mother of three who vanished days before Christmas; her torched car was found several days ago in a nearby national forest.

Natzke, 46, of Hot Springs Village, Ark., was last seen Dec. 21 when she returned home after attending a friend's Christmas party in Hot Springs Village. The private, gated community of more than 26,000 acres is home to retirees and working families in south-central Arkansas.

Natzke's boyfriend, Kevin Duck, told police she was watching television when he went to bed about 11 p.m., according to a time line released by Hot Springs Village police.

Police staff on Friday told The Times that the search was continuing, with no new information available. Officials at the Hot Springs Village Property Owners Assn. did not immediately return calls, and have not posted information about Natzke on its website.

Locals hoping to assist in the search have created a missing persons Facebook page featuring photos of Natzke.

Natzke's son reported his mother missing on Dec. 23 when she failed to show up for work, according to the police time line, which a local blogger has posted online. Then, on Christmas Eve, police were notified that Natzke's car, a 1997 Ford Escort, had been discovered in a remote part of the Oauchita National Forest. The car was completely charred, and there were no signs of Natzke, police said.

Natzke has worked as a dispatcher at the Hot Springs Village police department for the past six years, and Chief Laroy Cornett described her in a statement as "a loving mother of three boys, dutiful daughter, loyal friend, and conscientious employee."

"Her failure to contact anyone is certainly out of character," Cornett said in the statement.

Police staff said Cornett was assisting in the search for Natzke on Friday and could not be reached for comment.

Local police have drawn criticism for being too slow to start their search for Natzke. Police told ABC News it took time to get dog search teams in place.

So far, search teams of dogs and horseback police have recovered no sign of Natzke, investigators told ABC.


Visitor to 9/11 memorial told police of loaded gun, was arrested

Stories that grabbed us in 2011: Rogues, thieves, porn and more

Investigation begins into police pepper-spraying Utah haka dancers [Video]

-- Molly Hennessy-Fiske in Houston