HALIFAX CO. (WWBT) - The on-going investigation into the whereabouts of a missing Halifax County woman, Hattie Gertrude Brown, has now identified the woman's nephew as a suspect in her disappearance. Derek E. Brown, 30, of Virgilina has been elevated from a person of interest to a suspect in the missing person's case.
Hattie Gertrude Brown, 48, was last seen Saturday, May 16, 2009, at a Sheetz gas station at the intersection of Route 501 and Route 58 just outside South Boston in Halifax County. A video camera captured the woman and her car at the gas station at approximately 2:33 a.m. It has been determined that she was accompanied at the gas station by her nephew, Derek E. Brown.
Eight weeks later, on July 7, 2009, Ms. Brown's 2003 silver Volkswagen Jetta was discovered on private property in the southeastern corner of Halifax County. The property owner found the abandoned vehicle behind an old barn and immediately notified investigators. The Volkswagen Jetta had been set on fire.
Additionally, Brown's family has increased their reward to $10,000 from $2,500 for the arrest and conviction of the individual or individuals responsible for the disappearance of their loved one.
Brown is a black female with brown eyes and black, shoulder-length hair. She is approximately 5 feet 4 inches tall, 155 pounds, and was last seen wearing a sleeveless top and pants with side stripes. The investigation into her disappearance also indicates that she left her residence without her purse or critical medication.
Virginia State Police, Halifax County Sheriff's Office and South Boston Police are still seeking information on the whereabouts of Ms. Brown.
Anyone who might have information about her disappearance is still encouraged to contact investigators. You may reach the Virginia State Police Appomattox Division, if in Virginia, by dialing toll-free 1-800-552-0962 or (434) 352-7128. Virginia State Police can also be contacted by email at Troy.LaRue@vsp.virginia.gov.
To contact the Halifax County Sheriff's Office or South Boston Police Department with information on this case, please call (434) 476-3334.