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Deanna Brooks: Missing from California



Deanna has been missing since August 24, 2012.

Deanna’s son, Taylor Flynn wrote a letter to the newspaper about his missing mother.  Here is the letter:

Taylor Flynn is the son of missing local resident Deanna Brooks. He is publisher of the Tahoe Mountain News in South Lake Tahoe, CA where this column appears in the September 10 edition.

“My mom is a missing person. Her name is Deanna Brooks, and her case number is 12S-07491 with the Santa Cruz Police Dept.   She was last seen Friday, Aug. 24, the day she had planned to drive from her home in Santa Cruz to my grandmother’s house in San Diego for Nan’s 90th birthday. Mom is 70 (though she seems much younger) and her car is a gold 2003 Chrysler PT Cruiser. No, she does not have dementia. She’s a loving, with-it grandmother of eight who had planned this trip for weeks.  Needless to say, my two siblings and I along with a group of mom’s friends are doing everything we can to find her. My brother flew out from Georgia and has been dealing with the police and, ironically, the media (it’s a big story there). He’s been able to get her bank and credit card records. Eerily, everything just stopped on the day before she left.  My sister and her family flew out from New York for a few days but had to return to meet the demands of a busy young family with two children – school, jobs, bills. She has focused on the timeline leading up to mom’s disappearance. She researches mom’s email. She interviews family and friends. My sister is worried that mom left too late and ponders whether mom would have heeded her advice to stop and rest along the way.    Mom’s friends organized a candlelight prayer vigil at the antique store where she works. It was touching, beautiful, surreal.  My focus has been on the highway along mom’s usual US 101 route.  I drive, I walk, I look.   At first, I desperately wanted to find mom alive. Now, almost three weeks later, I just want to find her. Reluctantly, I have returned home to put this paper together. We have arranged some airplane searches, but if nothing turns up, I intend to go back to the coast and continue looking for her, for her car.   Because the credit cards have not been used, we figure mom is within driving distance of a tank of gas. Hence, the search is focused north of Santa Barbara. Daunting, indeed, but 95 percent of the road can be checked off where it’s straight and open or where there are good guardrails. The coastal areas are what worry me most, where oak trees create a canopy from the sky and where miles of thick chaparral dominated by poison oak could seemingly swallow up a small car and choke it off from civilization mere yards from the pavement.   I’m worried about the area from Pasa Robles south to Point Conception and also the stretch just south of Santa Cruz, which consists of Hwy. 1 and the two-lane commuter routes that cut over to 101 through Watsonville and Castroville – Highway 129 and Highway 156.    I’ve walked most of the bad areas, where the guard rails are non-existent, where skid marks disappear into broken vegetation and deep canyons. What you can’t see from the roadway just off the embankment is the shocking carnage of our modern world where people drive much too fast. Broken bumpers and other pieces of wreckage, discarded rubber paramedic gloves, personal items including a surprising number of CDs fallen to the ground and never recovered in a nightmare of flashing emergency lights.   There are roadside memorials, more than you know. The one that’s forever etched in my mind is off Hwy. 156 in a rural section east of Watsonville hidden from view in an eucalyptus grove far below the roadway. A clearing surrounds a single white cross draped with bouquets of sun-faded plastic flowers. On the ground is a collage of the boy’s toys – a small plastic truck, a toy tractor, other keepsakes fading into the blur of watery eyes. Slow down, people!    One of the worst nights of my life was last Friday, exactly two weeks after mom vanished. My sister-in-law called first before hesitantly forwarding the on-line version of a television news story. A murder victim, a female, had been found that morning on back road near the intersection of 156 and 101, near mom’s most likely route. A video link whose only soundtrack was the repetitive pulse of helicopter blades showed the bird’s eye view of detectives milling about the crime scene. The roof of a small gold car with an open hatchback sat parked backwards on the side of the desolate road. My wife and I watched in horror at home while my techie brother watched on his laptop uplinked via cell signal in his rental car. We all had a bad feeling, really bad.    I somehow got through to the San Benito Sheriff’s office even though it was midnight. I could hear myself rattle off mom’s statistics in a monotone. Then, Sgt. Burbank replied ever so clearly, “I cannot tell you anything about the investigation, except that it is definitely not your mother.”

“Thank you, Sgt. Burbank,” I heard myself say. “Thank you.”

In a couple of days, my brother will go up in another aerial search in the San Louis Obispo area, while my sister continues to look into other details of mom’s last known contacts. If nothing comes up, I’ll be back on the highway soon. Driving, walking, looking.   It’s what I do.”

Previous story.  
Despite several searches of roadside stops on the way to San Diego,  Deanna Brooks, 70, of Santa Cruz went missing on Thursday, August 23.

Deanna works at Attilia’s Antiques on Soquel Drive.  She was planning on going to her mother’s 90th birthday party in San Diego and took Highway 1, but she did not show up.

“She’s never disappeared before,” Stirling Flynn, Deanna’s son told the Mercury news. “I don’t see a good outcome in this.”

Police searched Brooks’ home on Berkeley Way in Santa Cruz Sunday night. Her car was gone and no one was home, Friend said.

Car similar to Deanna’s

Brooks is diabetic and on medications, and Flynn said he feared she had a seizure. Police said she hasn’t accessed her bank account or used a credit card since she went missing.  Flynn thinks she may have taken a detour on her way down.

Brooks’ youngest son, 49-year-old Taylor Flynn of Santa Cruz, apparently was the last person to see her when he visited Brooks at her Berkeley Way home the night of Aug. 23.

Police described Brooks as a white woman about 5 feet 3 inches tall. She has brown hair and green eyes and walks with a walker. Brooks drives a gold, 2003 4-door Chrysler PT Cruiser. It is damaged on both sides.

If you see Deanna, please call the Santa Cruz police  at 420-5820.

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