Missing woman's family holds on to hope

February 26, 2010 6:26:14 PM PST
Dana Hayes of Park Forest disappeared just before she was scheduled to testify against her former boyfriend who is accused of trying to kill her.

Her family is holding on to the hope that Hayes will be found alive. The family has put on a good front, but they are hurting.

"It's real stressful. Because if anyone knows Dana, it's not like her to just disappear," said Dorsey Hayes, brother.

Hayes is 35 years old, a mother of a teenage son and a matron in the Eastern Stars Organization. She was planning the organization's gala next month, but she has not been seen or heard from by her family in a month.

"It's just not like her to disappear. So it has to be something funny going on for her to just disappear, not contact her job or her son. That's not her," said Anjel Hayes, sister.

On January 25, Hayes dropped her son at school in Park Forest. On January 28, Hayes' car was found near a Metra viaduct in Harvey, but she was not been found.

Hayes' is a payroll administrator for Help at Home in the Loop. Her desk, with personal mementos including a picture of her son and her daughter who died ten years ago, has been empty since her disappearance. She called a coworker to say she would be out on the January 25 at the last minute. Friends say that was not like her.

"We don't really know what to think. We're hoping for the best. So I guess that's all we can do," said Urica Cole, co-worker.

In 2007, Terrence Coulter, Hayes' ex-boyfriend, was accused of stabbing Hayes 21 times. Coulter is charged with attempted murder and an order of protection for Hayes was issued after the stabbing. The order required Coulter was to turn in any firearms. But when police went to question Coulter about Hayes' disappearance they found a loaded gun in Coulter's mattress. Coulter was taken into custody for the violation.

Hayes' relatives are troubled by the violent past between Coulter and Hayes. They urgently want to find their sister.

"If she's still out there, we're not mad at you. Just call us and tell us you're okay," said Dorsey Hayes.

"The not knowing, that's the biggest thing. If she would just call and say,'I'm okay,' and hang up. At least we would know she's alive," said Anjel Hayes.

Park Forest police are investigating the disappearance.

ABC7 tried several times to get an update on the case. But our calls to the department have not been returned.