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Disappearance remains a mystery

Bre’ Ana Powell of Woodland places a rock on the Ashe Street memorial to her great aunt, Phyllis Powell, who disappeared 48 years ago today (Tuesday, Jan. 11). Contributed photo

WOODLAND – Five-year-old Bre’ Ana Powell of Woodland never had the chance to meet her great aunt, Phyllis L. Powell.

However, the two relatives do share one thing in common, Bre’ Ana is the same age today of her great aunt who vanished from Ashe Street in Woodland nearly 50 years ago, never to be seen or heard from again.

Today (Jan. 11, 2011) marks the 48th anniversary of Phyllis Powell’s disappearance. Despite that passage of time, family members still cling to the hope that someone will come forward with information on the case.

“We still have no answers,” said William “Buddy” Powell of Woodland, Phyllis’s brother and Bre’ Ana’s grandfather. “Not only did my mother and father go to their graves without knowing what happened to their little girl, but a lot more family members have passed on as well. But I’m still here and as long as the good Lord lets me draw a breath, I’ll continue to look for answers.”

Powell said that eyes haven’t seen nor ears have heard what God will reveal before the end of time, adding, “That was God’s promise in the Bible.”

For Powell and other surviving members of his family, they still live through the agony and pain of Jan. 11, 1963 when the news was revealed that Phyllis was missing. She disappeared at around 12 noon that day while playing in the area of NC 35 and Ashe Street in Woodland. Despite a massive search, there were no clues discovered on the little girl’s whereabouts.

“Some may say why, after nearly 50 years, don’t you just forget it,” Powell noted. “I will say to them, she wasn’t your baby, sister, daughter, aunt, cousin, etc. I will never stop looking. I will wait on God’s promise.”

Powell urged all parents to keep a close eye on their children.

“Don’t let your child become the next Phyllis Powell,” he stressed. “I also ask everyone to continue to pray for my family. Love is what keeps us strong and together. God bless you in advance of your prayers.

“To whoever is responsible for taking my sister, I say to you that my family loves you and what’s more important, God loves you too,” Powell closed. “We only want the pain and the heartache to go away.”

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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