Escondido mom Christie Donehue left her westside home the afternoon of Thursday, Nov. 29 for a North County doctor’s appointment.
Donehue never got there.
Nobody knew why the normally reliable 43-year-old woman missed the appointment or where she was although Escondido police initially said no signs of foul play were discovered. Donehue’s family was puzzled, however, by the fact she left behind her purse, wallet and two cell phones when she apparently drove away from the family’s home.
Donehue’s four grown children, baffled by their mother’s disappearance, described her as a loving, caring, and very responsible woman who took good care of her children and extended family. “It’s extremely strange,” son Michael Donehue said of his mother’s disappearance.
Her children posted flyers around Escondido that include Donehue’s photo, a detailed physical description and information about the vehicle they assumed she was driving.
That vehicle, a silver 2007 Chrysler Town & Country minivan, was found just after midnight Thursday at the dirt parking area across the street from Hernandez Hideaway at Del Dios by Lake Hodges. Donehue’s body was found inside.
Detectives were on scene through the night, according to news reports, with caution tape around the silver van as they investigated. The body was removed by the medical examiner before 5 a.m. and the van was towed away shortly after.
A San Diego County Sheriff’s Department official said a woman’s body was inside the vehicle with license plates that matched a missing person’s report.
The woman’s family identified the deceased person as Donehue, who went missing on Thursday, November 29. Her son Michael told FOX 5 on Sunday that she was going to see a doctor in Oceanside but never returned.
An autopsy will be done to determine the cause of death. San Diego Sheriff’s officials say foul play is not suspected and they’re calling off their investigation.
If you have any information to share about Donehue’s disappearance, you can contact Escondido Police or call the family at (760)-575-1360.