GALLIPOLIS — While the disappearance of Tamela Simpson, 34, of Cheshire, happened roughly six weeks ago, the loss of their sibling is still fresh in the minds of sisters Natasha and Katherine “Kat” Simpson.
“I wanted to talk to someone about (Tamela) being gone,” Kat said. “I want to try to get some search parties and something for her because I feel like she could still be in this area and as many boats as we can get out there looking and moving things around, the more we might be able to find her.”
Tamela disappeared March 14 from her family’s home in Cheshire. Her sisters say that Tamela walked across State Route 7 to the Ohio River relieve stress from a variety of sources in her life. The residence was a short distance from the water’s edge and easily seen from the front of the home. The sisters said it was a common practice with the family to sit by the water and clear their heads during times of difficulty.
The sisters say family members saw Tamela near the water’s edge and believed they saw her enter the river after potentially slipping and heard a sound potentially corresponding with the action. After her brother went to check on her, they could not find her.
Police reports say there was light traffic at the time of the incident and minimal background noise. Gallia County Sheriff Joe Browning said no foul play is suspected considering the circumstances of Tamela’s disappearance.
Deputies used marine boats and cadaver dogs in a ground search of the area after receiving reports about Tamela’s disappearance.
“We’ve followed up on each report as much as possible but haven’t had many tips,” Browning said.
Officers have continued patrolling the shoreline in search of signs of Tamela.
“I know she definitely wouldn’t have been missing this long,” Kat said. “Everything she had and was working for is still (at the family home). It’s not like this for her to go this long without contacting somebody.”
The sisters emphasized that Tamela loved her four children and would not want to leave them.
Natasha said she felt Tamela may have gotten caught up on boat docks near Kanauga or in brush and had wondered at the possibility of construction equipment clearing debris from enclosed locations of brush along the riverside.
Both siblings hold hope of finding their sister but are unsure of whether she may still be living with the amount of time that has passed from her initial disappearance.
“We just want peace for her and closure for the family,” Kat said.
“She was loved by many,” Natasha said. “This has been hard on all of us.”
The sisters said they felt unsure of how to proceed with organizing volunteer actions as the police also search. The pair expressed interest in holding a candlelight vigil at the location of her disappearance.
“The few weeks before (her disappearance), she was going to church and reading the Bible,” Natasha said. “She was getting her life on track.”
Tamela is described as a white female, 5 feet, 2 inches tall. She weighs around 125 pounds. She has blonde hair with purple highlights. She reportedly has green or hazel eyes. She was last seen wearing a blue cheetah print shirt with gray leggings and no shoes.
The sisters said they have been hanging posters in hopes of making the public aware of Tamela’s disappearance. Ideally, they would like to contact fisherman and individuals who are often on the water for tips of any kind in regards to finding their sister.
The sisters ask that if individuals would like to help them in the search for their sister, to contact them via their Facebook pages at Natasha Simpson and Kat Simpson. Tips for the Gallia County Sheriff’s Office can be left at (740) 446-6555.
Dean Wright can be reached at (740) 446-2342, Ext. 2103.