'Somebody knows something': Family searches for answers in woman's disappearance

"It could be your mother, it could be your grandmother, your sister ... You know we need the help of the community. Somebody knows something."

NEW ORLEANS -- A daughter is begging for the public's help in finding her 76-year-old mother.

Jean Stokes was reported missing last month to authorities who confirm foul play was involved in her disappearance.

"It could be your mother, it could be your grandmother, your sister," said Darlene Veal, Stokes' daughter. "You know we need the help of the community. Somebody knows something."

Almost a month after Jean Stokes went missing, her family is still looking for answers.

"Please! If anybody knows something, for the love of God," Veal said through tears. "Our family is ripped to shreds it's killing us. We need to bring her home, we need to bring her home, please."

Stokes was last seen by neighbors Oct. 11 at her New Orleans East home on the 4900 block of Good Drive.

"She would stop by and chat with everyone on the block and say, 'hello, how are you doing?'" Will Jones said with a smile. "Every day she walked her dogs. Everybody knew her."

It was the same day Stokes last spoke with her daughter, Darlene, over the phone. Two days later, Darlene flew in from Texas for a reunion. When she went to see her mom, nobody was home.

"Once I got here it was 8:30 in the morning," she said. "Her car wasn't here and something was strange. I knew it was out of the ordinary so I immediately started contacting relatives asking 'have you seen my mom? Have you talked to her?'"

Darlene says going to her mom's empty home gave her a gut feeling that something wasn't right.

"She never did anything to harm anybody," she said. "She's a beautiful person, she's beautiful! She takes pride in her family, her city. She loves her city and she enjoys being out in her garden. She's the mother of all mothers and the grandmother of all grandmothers."

Eleven days after NOPD started their investigation, Stokes' car was found abandoned.

"Well it brought a little hope, but it brought back despair because she wasn't in her car," Veal said.

Those who heard of the discovery didn't understand. That includes Jones, who said Stokes was loved by so many.

"She was a sweet, sweet lady," he said. "She's going to be missed. I just hope she's able to come back home. If you hear, know, or see anything just tell the police. Let somebody know."

Stokes' family now waits for any kind of information, and hope a $5,000 cash reward from Crimestoppers will help them get the answers they need.

"My heart is really, I have a hole in it," Veal said. "We just need her home. If anybody knows something, whatever it takes, please, please, please bring in your anonymous tips. I will not stop, I'll never stop and I'll exhaust every breath in my body to bring my mom home."

If you have any information, you're encouraged to call police. You can also call Crimestoppers anonymously. Any information leading to an arrest can be eligible for a cash reward of up to $5,000. They can be reached at 504-822-1111.

© 2017 WWL-TV


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