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Missing Monroe Ohio mom flees abductors
Monday, November 22, 2004 6:35:23 PM - Monroe Ohio
Woman runs to business near Toll Road rest stop.

By ALICIA GALLEGOS

Tribune Staff Writer

A 22-year-old woman reported missing in Monroe, Ohio was found in Elkhart Thursday. She told police she escaped from her abductors at an Indiana Toll Road rest stop.

Shannon Proffit of Hamilton, Ohio, ran to a nearby business to call authorities.

She had been missing from Monroe, Ohio, since early Wednesday morning, according to police reports.

Employees at Specialty Window Coverings, 1655 Gateway Court, Elkhart, said Proffit ran frantically into the store about 2 p.m. and told employees to call police.

"The girl looked like she was in shock," said Randy Ferrie, general manager. "She kept looking Police said Proffit apparently fled from the cab of a semi-truck stopped at a Toll Road rest stop, near the exit at Indiana 19. She jumped a fence to get away and was apparently crying when she arrived at the store.

The driver involved is still at large, Tom Cutler, Elkhart police spokesman said.

The woman appeared visibly shaken, but didn't seem to have any physical injuries, he said.

"She's obviously traumatized."

Even as the woman left the store with Elkhart police, Ferrie said she seemed scared and reluctant to go outside.

Proffit's family was notified she had been found, and panic-stricken family members quickly made the trek to Indiana.

"I thought I was going to pass out, I was so relieved," her mother, Laura Dayhoff, said in a phone interview Thursday while traveling.

Her daughter was last seen around 2 a.m. Wednesday at Coyote Ridge bar in Monroe, Ohio, she said. Monroe is 12 miles from Hamilton, which is about 30 miles north of Cincinnati. Proffit was shooting pool and hanging out with her sister one minute and, "the next minute she was gone," Dayhoff said.

A bouncer reported he saw two men at the bar escort Proffit outside, according to a Monroe police report.

Proffit was listed missing as an "involuntary abduction," meaning her family believed she was taken by strangers.

The young woman made two attempts to get help, her mother said, one in the form of a cell phone text message Wednesday.

"It said, 'They got me. They got me. Help,' " Dayhoff said.

A second emergency message came Wednesday that family members traced to a pay phone in Roselawn, Ind., in northwestern Indiana.Feeling helpless, Dayhoff and Proffit's sister drove from Hamilton, Ohio, to Roselawn on Wednesday and contacted Indiana State Police for help.

But there was no trace of her daughter, she said.

"I was so frustrated."

The two got back to Hamilton about 5:30 a.m. Thursday, hours before they got the call that she was in Elkhart.

Elkhart police have turned over the investigation to Indiana State Police, Toll Road Post.

No more information was available Thursday night as to how Proffit ended up in Elkhart or if she suffered injuries during her ordeal.

The woman is the mother of three children ages 3, 15 months and four months, Dayhoff said.

"She takes real good care of her kids," she said. "She would never leave them. She wouldn't do that."

Staff writer Yonika Willis contributed to this article.

Staff writer Alicia Gallegos:

agallegos@sbtinfo.com

(574) 235-6555

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