Oct. 13: It's been more than a month since Rebecca Henderson Paulk went missing, but for her mother, it seems like years.
"I don't wish this on anybody," Paulk's mother, Janet Henderson, said Saturday, 33 days after she last spoke to her only daughter. "We're devastated. We just need to get Rebecca home."
"It's getting tougher and tougher on me, because the longer it goes on, it's not going to be a good outcome," she said. "We want to keep our hopes up, but I know 33 days isn't good."
Henderson, of Demopolis, Ala., last spoke to her daughter at about 5 p.m. on Sept. 7. Paulk's abandoned tan Honda Civic was found the next day in a ditch in the Whynot community in Lauderdale County. The 26-year old's purse, laptop and iPad were found inside but not her cellphone.
A search of the area by deputies and canines yielded no clues, authorities said.
Paulk had been in Meridian that Monday, but Henderson doesn't know how she ended up in Whynot, which is about an hour away from her home in Linden, Ala.
"I'd never heard of Whynot, Mississippi until this happened," Henderson said. "She had never mentioned Whynot. I had no clue she was going to Mississippi."
"I thought something had happened to her, like she had been kidnapped," Henderson said of the days after Paulk's disappearance. "You want to wake up from this horrible nightmare and see her walk through the door and say 'Hey, mom.' But it doesn't look like it's going to happen that way."
Paulk visited her parents often and called or texted her mother daily. Henderson said she liked to spend her free time outside.
"She loves to hunt and fish, and could clean a deer better than anybody I know," Henderson said. "She just loves the outdoors. She's just full of life."
The young woman had just finished training to be an OSHA inspector and was excited about starting a new job, Henderson said. "It was something that made her happy," she said.
And she loves her dogs, Henderson said. "She loves her animals. She'd feed them before she fed herself."
Paulk has blonde hair, weighs 145 pounds, and is 5-feet-6-inches tall. Henderson worries that her daughter's appearance may have played a role in the case.
"She's so beautiful," she said. "And I hate to say this, but that could have been a factor."
In late September, investigators were encouraged by what appeared to be a promising lead in the case. Paulk had reportedly been seen in Meridian with a man named John Poisso of the Whynot community.
On Sept. 24, investigators questioned Poisso and searched his home on Old Wire Road but found nothing that tied him to Paulk's disappearance, Lauderdale County Sheriff Billy Sollie said.
The sheriff's department continues to work the case, but Henderson is now hoping they will call in outside agencies to help in the investigation.
"The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation, the FBI, they have a lot more resources," she said. "Let them come in and assist them."
The family is offering a $5,000 reward for any information on Paulk's whereabouts. Henderson remains optimistic that someone will come forward soon.
"I know somebody out there knows exactly where she is and for some reason they're not telling," she said. "Somebody knows something ... I just hope that God will put a burden on their soul and make them come forward."
Anyone with any information about Paulk's whereabouts is asked to call the Lauderdale County Sheriff's Department at 601-486-4952.