published Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

Missing Michigan woman last seen in Whitfield County puzzles police

  • photo
    These are photos of the missing woman Amber Gerweck whose car was found in Whitfield county.

The case of a Michigan woman last seen nine days ago in Whitfield County buying soap and sunscreen is puzzling North Georgia police.

A surveillance video recorded 32-year-old Amber Gerweck buying several products at a Dollar General store in Tunnel Hill, Ga., on April 10, authorities said. But Gerweck’s sport utility vehicle later was reported abandoned in that parking lot with her keys, wallet, a plastic bag and receipt inside it.

It also doesn’t look as if there was any kind of struggle in Gerweck’s vehicle, authorities said.

“This is kind of strange,” said Whitfield County Detective Eric Burnette. “If you don’t want to be found, that’s the way to do it.”

But family members say it’s not like Gerweck to make rash decisions.

“This isn’t something anyone would expect from her,” said Susan Kirkland, a family friend speaking on behalf of Gerweck’s parents, who live in Calhoun, Ga.

Dale and Jackie Seger told police they talked to their daughter on a Saturday morning from Blackman Township, Mich., the day before she went missing.

Gerweck told her parents she was going to study all weekend, Kirkland said. Gerweck was taking some college classes while working full time for the Department of Homeland Security.

But three days later, someone from Gerweck’s work contacted family members, saying she hadn’t been to work, Kirkland said. Once Gerweck was reported missing, her landlord found her cellphone and books sprawled out on her bed, Kirkland said.

“Nothing appeared to be missing,” she said.

While authorities know Gerweck drove from Michigan to Tunnel Hill, she didn’t let her family know she would be in Georgia, Burnette said.

Two Calhoun women claimed they spotted Gerweck last week, but authorities haven’t been able to verify if it was her, Burnette said. Gordon County authorities also are on the lookout.

Gerweck has four children between 7 and 13 years old. They live with their father in Michigan. The couple divorced several years ago, and the father gained custody, Kirkland said.

Recently, Gerweck was promoted to a position that ran background checks on potential employees, Kirklans said, but Gerweck “really wasn’t allowed to talk about all the details for her job.”

Authorities are investigating whether Gerweck’s disappearance could be related to her work, but it’s not suspected at this time, Burnette said.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Whitfield County Sheriff’s Office at 706-278-1233.

Contact staff writer Joy Lukachick at or 423-757-6659.

about Joy Lukachick Smith...

Joy Lukachick Smith is the city government reporter for the Chattanooga Times Free Press. Since 2009, she's covered crime and court systems in North Georgia and rural Tennessee, landed an exclusive in-prison interview with a former cop convicted of killing his wife, exposed impropriety in an FBI-led, child-sex online sting and exposed corruption in government agencies. Earlier this year, Smith won the Malcolm Law Memorial Award for Investigative Reporting. She also won first place in ...

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