WILLIAMS, Ore. — “She was a really good person… and I want that to be what we remember about her,” said Kimberly Mericle’s close friend, Tressi Albee.
For those who knew and loved Kimberly Mericle, they say there’s not a day that goes by they don’t think about her and her fun, free-spirited personality.
“She was really, really creative… there was the dance and she was also a musician that sang,” said Albee.
The 46-year-old grew up in Brunswick, Georgia. She moved out to Williams in the 90’s, drawn to the beauty of the small, Applegate Valley town.
Albee says she and Mericle were always close but says she heard less and less from Mericle when she got mixed in with the wrong crowd, later struggling with methamphetamine addiction.
“I hadn’t talked to her since November and she was so out of sorts when I spoke with her. She was confused and not very coherent,” she said.
Little did she know Mericle would vanish just a few months later, leaving her friends and family praying for answers.
“I realized one day it had been a little more than two weeks and I tried to reach her, but it went straight to voicemail and I texted her and heard nothing back,” said Mericle’s twin, Dana Gardner.
Police say Mericle disappeared sometime on or about March 2, 2017, two years ago.
“We don’t really have an exact time frame as to who saw her last as to pinpoint her down as to where she’s been or where she was,” said Sgt. Jeff Proulx, Oregon State Police.
Months later, the family says police discovered her car in Grants Pass with her phone and other belongings inside.
“We’re not suspecting foul play but after being missing for two years, we think something did happen,” said Sgt. Proulx.
Mericle’s friends and family say they agree.
“I couldn’t for a second have believed that she somehow just left or anything like that… because the person I was speaking with wasn’t organized enough to do something like that,” said Albee.
Some are expressing concerns of a volatile past relationship, an unnamed boyfriend.
“I think he always kept her addicted, kept her dependent,” said Albee.
Others don’t want to point fingers, they’re just praying for her safe return.
“Some days, you know, you feel like she could just walk out of the woods,” said Gardner.