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Family of missing Anthem woman pushing for answers

Posted at 10:08 PM, Nov 12, 2023
and last updated 2023-11-13 00:08:32-05

Pushing for answers, one family is flying from all over the country to honor and fight for missing Anthem woman JoAnn Dudek.

The then 64-year-old went missing on November 13, 2022. Ever since then, Dudek’s niece Erin Murtha told ABC15 the family has been trying to find her aunt.

“People don't just vanish into thin air,” said Erin. “It just doesn't work like that.”

The family finds it baffling that Dudek would just disappear. Just the day before she went missing her family said Dudek was planning a trip to New York to visit her sisters.

“I was actually texting JoAnn confirming her flights, and if I could get her at the airport actually on the day this all happened,” said Dudek’s sister and Erin’s mom, Terry Murtha.

Terry believes she was one of the last people to speak with Dudek.

At the time, Dudek was living with her daughter, her daughter’s partner, and her husband, Walter.

Earlier this year, Walter passed away from a brain lesion.

Dudek's family says she was last seen at her home leaving behind her wallet, car and phone.

“I absolutely do not think that anyone outside a stranger would be involved in her disappearance,” said Erin.

Since then, only one person has claimed to have heard from Dudek.

“We were told that she made contact twice with her daughter,” said Erin. “Our family has asked for proof of those phone calls and has never been able to receive proof that those phone calls actually happened.”

The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office told ABC15 that Dudek's disappearance is suspicious and has been handed over to their homicide unit.

MCSO has not released any details about the case other than search warrants have been served as they search for evidence.

“It’s very surreal to be here on her block,” said Erin on Sunday.

The family gathered at Lost Legend Park on the eve of the one-year mark of Dudek’s disappearance.

The park is down the road from the home where Dudek lived.

Loved ones flew in from all over the country, hoping soon someone will come forward with information or investigators find a break in the case.

“Speak life into investigation,” urged Erin.

The family lit candles, played music, and wore Dudek’s favorite color.

“I’m utterly broken, and every day I pray that we are the day we get some answers,” said Dudek’s other sister Karen Olson while speaking at the event.

The whole family vowed to never give up.

Anyone with information about this case is asked to contact MCSO at (602) 876-TIPS (8477) and reference report # IR 220-304-781