A small plane tire could provide a clue into what happened to a White Settlement couple who went missing in the Bahamas.
Donna Grant and Forrest Sanco were high school friends who reconnected later in life. Both 56, they were supposed to get married in the Bahamas, then fly themselves home in the Cessna 150 Sanco they had purchased before their trip.
But they never made it to Rum Cay, their final island. No one has seen or heard from them since September 26, when they took off from North Eleuthera Airport in stormy weather.
According to family members, on October 7, a fisherman found a tire that may have been from their plane. It was discovered around 25 miles east/southeast of Grand Bahama International Airport. According to family, the couple would have had to fly that direction before circling back south toward Rum Cay.
Erin Simmons, Grant's daughter-in-law, flew into the Bahamas with her husband, October 12, hoping for answers, and found out about the discovery of the tire. At this point, we don't know if it belongs to Sanco's plane.
"It was a new tire," Simmons said. "He did purchase new tires before the trip."
"Even if it means a terrible outcome, any outcome at this point is better than not knowing," Simmons added. "It's just been anguish."
Simmons said the family filed a missing persons report in White Settlement, where Sanco lived. Grant had just moved in with him a month before, from the small town in Oklahoma where they both grew up.
Then, they found out they would need to file a missing persons report in Nassau in person, Simmons said
"It's sort of a rollercoaster but it's enough to keep you going," Simmons said.
The Royal Bahamian Defence Force is leading search efforts, but has not retuned our calls or emails. The U.S. Coast Guard flew over the area three times this week, including Friday morning, and the RBDF's request, but found nothing, said a Coast Gaurd spokeswoman.
Simmons and her family are not giving up hope.
"Forrest is an engineer, Donna is a nurse, they had food and water on the plane, a flotation device," said Simmons. "There are stories of survival, people who have been missing, and they're found on a remote island."
In a statement, a U.S. State Department official there is "no higher priority than the protection of U.S. citizens overseas. When a U.S. citizen is reported missing abroad, we work closely with local authorities and cooperate fully in their search efforts."
Back at home, family members have created a GoFundMe page to finance private search efforts, including hiring a private pilot to take aerial photos of the search area in the Bahamas.
The have also created a Facebook page called "Bring Forrest and Donna Home," which includes regular updates on the search.