Minnesota man continues search for sister, missing for a year in North Dakota
48-year-old Anne Fitzsimonds disappeared after leaving a party police say involved alcohol and drugs. She was going to walk 26 miles home to Inkster.
PETERSBURG, N.D. — "All of this is under the surface all the time," George Niece said as he wiped away tears.
It's been a painful year for the family of 48-year-old Anne Fitzsimonds. Especially for her brother, Niece, who makes frequent trips from his home near the Twin Cities to look for his baby sister.
"We all keep looking, there's only so many places to look, you can't dig up the whole earth," Niece said.
It was in the early morning hours of Oct. 4, 2020, when Fitzsimonds walked away from a farmstead just north of Petersburg, North Dakota. Police say it was a small gathering of friends who were drinking and using drugs. The friends claim Fitzsimonds decided she was going to walk 26 miles home to Inkster, North Dakota. It was 29 degrees that night. Her brother said Fitzsimonds would never leave her kids.
"It seems likely something bad happened, she was disposed of like trash or outright killed," Niece said.
Also missing — according to Niece — is a couple thousand dollars in cash Fitzsimonds was carrying. He admits his sister battled addiction off and on and that she may have been having an affair. What's tough to swallow is his last phone call to her just a few days before she disappeared. She told him there was "trouble."
"I wish I would have done something," said Niece, fighting back tears, wondering what his sister meant.
Police have not given up looking either, though new tips are rare. Over the past year deputies, along with the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation, have continued to look by air and land — including the use of cadaver dogs. Sloughs have also been searched. They say the party goers have been cooperative. Investigators aren't ready to go the foul play route at this time.
"Nothing to suspect that at this time, but we are keeping all options open and where those avenues take us," said Danielle Bjorlie, the lead investigator for the Nelson County Sheriff's Department.
"Clearly there is something more than that. "If she walked off and died, someone would have found her," said Niece.
Niece says the family is losing hope of a miracle and they have talked about planning a celebration of life., but with a vacancy in his heart, he will not give up searching for his baby sister.
He is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to his sister.
"I don't want a pound of flesh, blood money or revenge, or anything like that. I just want to know where she is, so I can put her to rest and out family can have peace, and her children can know their mom is in heaven," said Niece.
A motorcycle ride to raise money for Anne Fitzsimond's husband and children will be at noon Saturday, Oct. 16, at the bar in Inkster, North Dakota.