In the early morning hours of Wednesday, February 4th, 2015, Sara Nicole Graham woke up as usual and started getting ready for work. Around 6:30 a.m. she left home to head for her job at Wal-Mart in Pembroke, North Carolina. Her commute was usually around 20 minutes as she was scheduled to work at 7:00 a.m.
Within the next fifteen minutes, Sara’s white Chevy Astro van would be spotted – parked, locked, and abandoned – in a wheat field just a few minutes from her house, just off East McDonald Road. Those who reported seeing her van at the time said they saw no signs of Sara in or around the van.
Sara never made it to work and never returned home.
There was no damage to the van or signs of a struggle around the van, such as track marks or broken earth. A mysterious component of the case is around the fact that the van was locked, something an older model of vehicle does not do on its own. Someone would have had to lock the door manually, using the car key.
With the discovery of the abandoned van, the Fairmont Police Department initiated a search for Sara, including 140 local volunteers and a K-9 unit, to no avail. Sara’s case remains unsolved.
Both Sara’s father and stepmother worked at the Fairmont Police Department, where Hubert was a Sergeant and Connie was a Deputy. After Sara’s disappearance, Connie was fired from her job as a Deputy, with the Sheriff’s Department citing “Personnel Issues” as the reason for her termination.
Sara Nicole Graham was born on April 1st, 1996 and was a member of the Lumbee Tribe. According to the Red Justice Podcast, Sara’s relatives described her as “shy until you got to know her” and “the kindest, sweetest person.” You can listen to their podcast which details more about Sara’s case here.
Although Sara was raised by her mother in Texas, she moved back to North Carolina after her high school graduation to live with her father, Hubert, and stepmother, Connie. Not much is publicly known about Sara’s relationship with either family member.
Lumbee Tribe Chairman, Harvey Godwin Jr. spoke about Sara at an event held by the tribe in order to commemorate missing and murdered indigenous women in the area. In this article, Harvey states: “When we speak of missing and murdered Indigenous women, we’re speaking of our sisters, our neighbors, and our family.” The tribe, community members and community groups like Shatter the Silence continue to raise awareness around missing persons cases such as Sara’s in an effort to keep their memory alive, as well as push for new information from witnesses or anyone who may have heard or seen something.
If you have any information regarding Sara’s disappearance, please contact the Robeson County Sheriff’s Office at (910) 671-3100.
Date of Birth: April 1, 1996 (age 18 at disappearance, would be age 25 today)
Weight: 160 lbs
Appearance: Dark brown, curly hair and brown eyes, wears glasses, had orthodontics braces at time of disappearance.