$5,000 reward offered for missing disabled woman - WSMV News 4

$5,000 reward offered for missing disabled woman

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Alicia Waters Alicia Waters
Florence Waters Florence Waters

Officials in Rutherford County are offering a $5,000 reward to help them find a disabled woman who has a million-dollar bank account waiting for her.

Alicia Waters is 39. She has had cerebral palsy since she was an infant. Waters is confined to a wheelchair and can't speak.

Her mother, Florence Waters, and her father, Charles Waters, have cared for Alicia all her life. They used to live in Murfreesboro.

But now, Rutherford County officials can't find the family.

The Waters moved two years ago, walking away from a million-dollar account set up decades ago for Alicia’s medical needs.

"Why they would leave Rutherford County, and well over a million dollars in her account here. It's just baffling. We can't figure it out," said John Bratcher, Rutherford County Clerk and Master of Chancery Court.

The Waters have been in the court system in three states, most recently in Rutherford County. A series of conservatorship cases began in California, then moved to Georgia, and later, to Tennessee.

Bratcher presides over Alicia Waters' conservatorship case in Tennessee.

The $1 million came from a medical malpractice settlement - a surgical mistake when Alicia Waters was 10 months old.

Murfreesboro attorney David LaRoche is the conservator over Alicia Waters’ finances. LaRoche said he could be providing $9,000 a month for her care.

"It's very frustrating. But more importantly it gives me a lot of concern about Alicia's well-being. We can't think of a rational reason why the family would have ignored all these resources that can be used to care for Alicia," LaRoche said.

LaRoche and Bratcher have had the police try to find her; LaRoche even hired private investigators.   They've looked in Riverside County, CA, where the family once lived, and they're looking in Duluth GA, a suburb of Atlanta.

The family gave Rutherford County court officials the Duluth home as their forwarding address.

Investigative reporter Jonathan Carlson from News 4’s Atlanta affiliate went to the Duluth home, where he encountered Charles Waters. Waters gave contradictory answers.

Carlson: "We're looking for Alicia Waters."

Charles Waters: "What about her?"

Carlson: "Some folks in Tennessee are looking for her, wondering if she's OK. Do you know her?"

Waters: "Yeah, that's my daughter."

Carlson: "So she's here?"

Waters: "Well I'm not saying she is or isn't."

Charles Waters gave conflicting accounts of where his wife Florence is; once saying she is in Tennessee, then then giving an evasive answer.

He said his daughter is being well cared for and appeared surprised to learn there was a reward offered for information about her whereabouts.

Carlson: "Is there somebody you don't want to find you, or find her? Is there a concern for her safety, that you don't want us to know where she is?"

Charles Waters: "No. She's well".

Carlson: "She's well?"

Waters: "She's well."

With that comment, Charles Waters closed and locked the door.

Neighbors told our Atlanta affiliate they haven't seen anyone in a wheelchair at the house for a long time.

“I haven't seen her in many years," one neighbor said.

Rutherford County officials said Alicia Waters’ parents came to court once a month for about a year. They became increasingly combative and uncooperative, refusing to allow them to check on Alicia, court officials said. Then in April 2015, the Waters moved out of their Murfreesboro house and haven’t been heard from since.

Court officials are so concerned they've done something they've never done before:  they're offering a $5,000 reward for help locating her.

"We're reaching out to the public. Somebody knows where Alicia is. Somebody is going to let us know so we can help take care of her," LaRoche said.

"I guess that's the million dollar question,” Bratcher said. “Who hides from a million dollars? I don't know."

If you have seen Alicia Waters, you are urged to call 1-800-949-5175 or visit findaliciawaters.com.

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