HALIFAX COUNTY, Va. (WSET)- It’s now been seven years since a Halifax County woman disappeared.

Police say that Hattie Brown was last seen on May 16, 2009 at a Sheetz gas station in Halifax County with her nephew.

Police reported finding her car, a 2003 Volkswagon Jetta, behind a barn 8 weeks later.

Since her disappearance, her family has not lost hope in her return; hosting fundraisers, posting on billboards, celebrating her birthday, and praying relentlessly.

Hattie Brown

Hattie Brown

In April, her family is filing a petition seeking determination of death.

Once this petition is goes to court, Hattie will be presumed deceased.

Yet, her sister, Diane Brown, is still holding out hope that someone will come out with details of Hattie’s disappearance.

ABC 13 spoke with State Police, who are leading this investigation.

The investigator said this case has remained a priority for the past seven years and state police are continually following new leads as they come in.

They ask anyone with any information that could help investigators, to call state police immediately.

Those with information can contact

State Police Special Agent Kevin George at 434-352-3455 or by email at kgeorge@vsp.virginia.gov.

  • Hattie Gertrude Brown
  • 55 years old
  • African-American female
  • 5’4
  • 155 pounds
  • Black hair
  • Brown eyes
  • Scar on her abdomen

Hattie picked her adult nephew, Derek Edward Brown, up at a Sheetz gas station at the intersection of Route 501 and Route 58 in Halifax County, Virginia on May 16, 2009.

She and her vehicle, a brown 2003 Volkswagen Jetta with the Virginia license plate number DV 20505, were captured on the station’s security camera at 2:33 a.m.

Hattie dropped Derek off at a party and was last seen idling in her car outside the party.

Derek (her nephew) made it home safely, but his aunt has never been heard from again.


In July, two months after Hattie’s disappearance, her car was found abandoned and burned on a farm in southeastern Halifax County.

It had been completely destroyed by the fire and looked as if it had been parked at the location for a long time.

Authorities said the farm was abandoned, which suggested a local person was involved in Hattie’s disappearance, since a local would be aware that it would be a safe place to leave her car where it wouldn’t be found for some time.

After the vehicle’s discovery, police publicly named Derek as a suspect in his aunt’s disappearance.

He hasn’t been charged with any wrongdoing in connection with it, however.

Derek has a prior criminal record for breaking and entering, destroying property and possession of burglary tools.

Hattie’s family stated they didn’t believe she left of her own accord, as this is uncharacteristic of her behavior.

She left her purse and medication behind, as well as her cherished pet Chihuahua, when she vanished, and none of her accounts have been touched.

Hattie is an Army veteran who participated in Operation Desert Storm; she retired in 1998, with the rank of sergeant.

She has eleven siblings, several of whom have died in the years since her disappearance.

Her case remains unsolved.

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Sheetz gas station at the intersection of Route 501 and Route 58 in South Boston, VA

Sheetz gas station at the intersection of Route 501 and Route 58 in South Boston, VA