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By Stephen J. Lee, Published November 24 2008

Benefit, fundraisers to be held for missing Thief River Falls, Minn., woman's family

GRAND FORKS, N.D. - It was one month ago Sunday that Gina Lin Anderson went missing, last seen driving away from her Thief River Falls home in her bright yellow 2002 Pontiac Sunfire. Her family, including her husband, Jeremy, has no idea where she was going or where she has been since.

The Pennington County Sheriff’s Office said no aerial searches have been done lately, and none are planned because the ground already has been covered.

“We were hoping to hear something from hunters,” said a sheriff’s dispatcher Sunday. The main gun season for deer ended Sunday in Minnesota.

A benefit, including a spaghetti dinner, craft sale and live auction, to raise money for search expenses, will be held from 4 to 8 p.m. Dec. 10 in the Eagles Club in Thief River Falls. A trust fund for donations has been set up as “Hope For Gina,” at Northern State Bank, Box 639, Thief River Falls, Minn. 56701. Donations for the live auction can be sent to Lisa Anderson, 1125 Oakland Park Road, Thief River Falls, MN 56701.

Anderson’s sister, Jackie Pagel, from the Twin Cities, has been trying to spread information about Anderson on Web sites across the nation.

“We are trying at this point to get her on the national news,” Pagel said in an e-mail. “Never in our lives have we ever worried that Gina would take off even at our worst times with her. Her husband knows that, too.”

Gina and Jeremy Anderson have been married 13 years. He last saw her the morning of Oct. 23, as he left for work. She last was seen by a man working on a house across the street as she drove away in the late afternoon.

That she left behind her purse and seizure medication has been a key puzzle in the case.

Pagel said because Gina used no credit cards or even checks, but always cash, she might have left her purse behind for a quick trip to a store.

“I have had a lot of people tell me they think it is odd that she would leave her purse at home. But if she was only planning on dropping something off, or something like that, maybe she didn’t feel she would need it.

“Gina was seen at a sports store earlier that day at 1 or 1:30 p.m. looking to buy a hooded sweatshirt for her husband. I don’t believe she bought anything, but would that make you think she was planning on taking off?”

Pagel said her mother recently found Thanksgiving cards in Gina’s home, ones she apparently had planned on sending for this season and another sign she wasn’t planning to go away.

“She may have met up with someone and something went wrong or possibly someone could have been watching her and following her. You never know these days,” Pagel said.

“We are very worried that her car has not been found. Gina does not have a bank account or credit cards, so we will never be able to track her that way,” Pagel said.

“But for Gina to have a plan on leaving and leaving absolutely everything behind … things just don’t seem to add up.”

Anyone with information should call the Pennington County Law Enforcement Center at (218) 681-6161.

The Grand Forks Herald and The Forum are both owned by Forum Communications Co.