Mystery of missing woman solved in a Punta Gorda canal
PUNTA GORDA, Fla. - The family of a Southwest Florida woman who disappeared nearly 20 years ago is finally getting some answers.
Frances Hendrickson was 64 years old when she was last seen driving her light blue station wagon in her Punta Gorda Isles neighborhood back in 1993.
She was never seen again.
"We did a massive search in 1993," says Captain Tom Lewis with the Punta Gorda Police Department.
Over the years, the police department searched all 55 miles worth of Punta Gorda's canal system.
The case got a big break when the police department recently borrowed newly available sonar technology from a local sheriff's office.
"Until we had advance in techology, we would not have been able to come to what we have today," said Capt. Lewis.
The sonar search turned up the image of a car in a canal just a couple blocks from the missing woman's home.
Police divers confirmed it was Henrickson's 1987 Buick station wagon. The sunken car had the distinguising characteristics of Herickson's station wagon - wood paneling on the sides and a vanity plate that alluded to her status as a seasonal visitor - "SNO BURD."
"The Punta Gorda Fire department assisted us with jaws of life opening rear door and we were able to see some skeletal remains within."