KANSAS CITY, Mo. — On the seventh day of its investigation, the Bates County Sheriff’s Office said searchers have recovered some personal items that belong to missing woman Nicole Mallatt.
The 36-year-old mother of three was reported missing Nov. 29 and has not been in contact with family or friends. She was last seen Nov. 26, when she left the house to see a friend and never came back.
Bates County Sheriff Chad Anderson said Mallatt’s backpack, phone and shoes were found about 100 yards from a property on which she’d lived with her boyfriend of 18 years.
The property was the center of law enforcement’s search before they expanded it to surrounding farms. On Thursday, volunteers focused on the area surrounding the Marais Des Cygnes river just southwest of SW 1238 Rd & SW CR-5697 Rd.
Mallatt's family is gathered in nearby Butler, worried sick about what searchers might find.
"This is not like Nicole. This isn't Nicole," Mallatt's mother Debbie Lewis said.
Lewis says she spoke with Mallatt's ex husband, who says he was with her the night she disappeared and he dropped her off outside her house. What happened after that is unknown.
Lewis says her daughter had plans for Thanksgiving but was never seen again.
"We talked about Thanksgiving. She called me for recipes and stuff. She was going to have this dinner for her kids. They were going to help mom cook," Lewis said through tears.
Lewis says her daughter told her everything, and would never go this long without talking to anyone.
Mallatt’s home was also searched and is being processed by the Kansas City, Missouri, Police Department crime lab.
Anderson said authorities plan to continue the ground search, though there is no longer an indication the search will provide evidence of her whereabouts.
Mallatt has left on her own in the past but always communicated with her children, Anderson said. Police are concerned because she hasn't been in contact with her children this time. Lewis said she left when things got bad at home.
"I just want to bring my baby home with me," Lewis said.
Anderson addressed Mallatt directly during a news conference on Thursday.
“Nicole if you are watching me, you do not owe us an answer. If you have just decided to leave, I ask that you go to the nearest law enforcement agency and let them identify you so that we can offer closure to your family and friends," Anderson said. "Our goal is to ensure you are safe and alive."
The Bates County Sheriff’s Office activated the Southwest Missouri Major Case Squad on Monday.