WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Almost two years ago, a mother from Wilmington went missing.
From posters to water bottles, Harriett Rivers has spent nearly two years putting her daughter’s face everywhere.
“I recently started this thing with my coworkers with water bottles,” Rivers said. “Anybody that I know that’s traveling giving them some water bottles and fliers with Ebonee’s picture on it.”
“She was fine,” Rivers said. “She had meetings set up that day; just a normal day planned.”
Rivers said things started getting strange that afternoon.
“Between 5:30 and 7, she was walking down Nixon Street,” Rivers said.
Rivers said Spears’s friend, who works at the Community Boys & Girls Club, saw her and noticed something was off.
“So he dropped her off at the club and told her to wait right there,” Rivers said.
Instead, Rivers said Spears walked to the Wilmington Police Department.
“She actually used the phone,” WPD Lt. Kelvin Hargrove said. “The front desk officer showed her where the phone was, because we got a phone out in the lobby. At one point she got upset and started cursing and left out of the building.”
Hargrove said that happened around 8 p.m.
“The front desk officer then went and checked the phone to make sure the phone was working, because he didn’t know why she was so upset,” Hargrove said.
Hargrove said Spears was then seen at the Boys & Girls Club again.
“She was last seen leaving the Boys & Girls Club headed toward home at 8:30 or 9 o’clock,” Hargrove said.
Rivers said later that night, Spears talked to a man at her apartment.
“Quarter to 10 Ebonee was outside her apartment, and she approached him for a cigarette,” Rivers said, “and he said he had his last one, and he said Ebonee mentioned something about walking up to the store to get something.”
Rivers said that was the last time anyone saw her.
“All of it’s strange,” Rivers said.
Hargrove said detectives interviewed several people Spears talked to that day.
“One of the people that she talked to stated that she was on new medicine and it was messing with her,” Hargrove said.
Spears had recently been diagnosed with lupus.
“It took like a different toll on her with the anxiety and the depression,” Rivers said.
Rivers never saw Spears that day, but she talked to her on the phone after she never showed up for dinner.
“She said, ‘No. I’ve already eaten a salad. I’m fine, and I just stepped outside to get some air,'” Rivers said.
Rivers said that was a red flag.
“Because I know Ebonee, and she doesn’t like cold weather, so No. 1, she’s not going to be walking up and down the street,” Rivers said.
Rivers said Spears had not been acting like herself all that week.
“That Thursday she was acting erratic,” Rivers said. “The Ebonee I know and love so much, she was a responsible person.”
But Rivers said her daughter never talked about taking her own life.
“Even in her weakest moments, no,” Rivers said. “If she had taken her own life, I think her body or something would have been found by now.”
That’s why Rivers thinks her daughter’s disappearance is suspicious.
“To me, I think so,” Rivers said. “No clothes, no money, no ID, no nothing. ‘Cause if she was just going to walk away, why take the time to lock your apartment, though? You wouldn’t have cared.”
It is a mystery that weighs on Rivers every single day.
“More than anybody could ever imagine,” Rivers said.
It is a weight that only a mother could understand, but as a mother and grandmother, she says she has to keep pushing.
“So life goes on, but in the midst of all that, you’re thinking, I’m able to eat. I’m able to sleep. I am able to do this,” she said. “Is Ebonee able to do these same things? Is she being taken care of? Is she alright?”
These questions keep her making water bottles. It is a mystery she will continue telling, a picture she will continue showing until Ebonee’s disappearance is no longer unsolved.
If you have any information, call Wilmington Police or use Text-a-Tip.