Deputies: Detectives following leads in Mudgett disappearance in Beaufort County

Published: May. 9, 2014 at 2:23 AM EDT|Updated: May. 12, 2014 at 9:04 PM EDT
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HOLLYWOOD, SC (WCSC) - Charleston County detectives are following up on several leads in Beaufort County in the search for a missing Hollywood woman.

Sheriff's spokesperson Maj. Eric Watson said the department deployed resources in Beaufort County as part of the investigation into the disappearance of 77-year-old Julia Ann Mudgett. Mudgett was reported missing from her Hollywood home on May 6.

Deputies say they are continuing to investigate the disappearance as a missing person case, but they have not ruled out the possibility of foul play.

Evidence collected from Mudgett's home includes some blood evidence, but authorities have not yet named any suspects.

On Friday evening, several vehicles, including a search boat, were seen leaving a boat landing off of Parishville Road in Hollywood.

A friend of Mudgett told deputies last week she spotted signs of some kind of struggle at Mudgett's home. Irene Green says she and Mudgett chatted every day. Green says she last heard from Mudgett on May 4, when Mudgett left her a voicemail.

Green says she went by the home two nights later after Mudgett wasn't in Bible study. She says when she got to the house and went inside, she found Mudgett's three dogs, but there was no sign of Mudgett herself.

"There were obvious signs of a struggle, obvious signs, and the window was broken and the door."

Green and her husband noticed something else that was disturbing.

"I walked through the house calling her name, and there was no answer. I walked around and tried to find out how could she leave? She didn't have any of her oxygen equipment with her."

Green says she and her husband entertained different scenarios, struggling not to assume the worst.

"Initially, that night, my husband and I tried to figure out what could it possibly be? Could she have fallen, got herself in the car and gone to the hospital or something like that? Of course, we called the police, and they checked all the hospitals, and there was nothing, and that was really our big hope."

She says she's quickly losing hope and trying to understand who could hurt her and why.

"There's no rationale. Julia is a sweet, lovable person….she was just a beautiful, beautiful spirit, just a loving person, always giving."

Green says Mudgett was a devout Mormon. She attended services regularly at the temple on Sam Rittenberg Boulevard.

On Wednesday, Live 5 News learned that Mudgett's next door neighbor was questioned and many of his belongings were confiscated, but the Charleston County Sheriff's Office says he is not a suspect.

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