tampabay.com

'Hopefully she was just off with a friend'

The co-founder of substance abuse treatment agency has been missing since Friday.

By REBECCA CATALANELLO
Published January 4, 2006


TAMPA - Sandra Prince didn't show up to work on Tuesday at the Agency for Community Treatment Services Inc., a substance abuse treatment agency she helped found almost 30 years ago.

Neighbors noticed her absence as well. One called police Tuesday morning, worried that she also hadn't seen Prince, 59, at her Temple Terrace home in days.

Police arrived and found the back door of her residence, 11507 Moffat Place, unlocked. Her car was parked in the driveway.

Inside, Temple Terrace spokeswoman Paula MacDonald said, the home was in "meticulous" condition, with no signs of any forced entry.

Prince is unmarried, lives alone and has no children, family and friends said.

Police have secured Prince's home as a crime scene. MacDonald said investigators had not located Prince's purse in the home.

She said she could not report any information about Prince's personal life.

She described Prince as being 5-foot-6 with brown hair and brown eyes. A colleague says she speaks with a thick southern drawl.

A graduate of Duke University with a master's degree in social work from Florida State University, Prince joined forces with others in 1975 to begin building ACTS, Inc. in Tampa, executive director John Marrocco said.

Marrocco described his colleague as a "brilliant" woman, friendly, though also quite private.

He'd last seen Prince on Friday at work.

Her most recent assignment at the agency involved overseeing grants for programs to assist people with substance abuse problems.

ACTS offices were closed Monday.

Marrocco said he'd expected Prince to be at work Tuesday and began to get worried after someone contacted the office to report her missing.

"Hopefully she was just off with a friend," Marrocco said.

Asked if she shared any information about her New Year's plans, Marrocco said no.

But that wasn't at all uncharacteristic, he said, since she tended to keep her personal life to herself.

The last time Dovie Hamby saw her only child, the two of them were celebrating her 91st birthday at a little restaurant near Hamby's home in Boone, N.C.

It was October and Hamby couldn't imagine what her birthday would have been like without daughter, Sandra, by her side.

"If she had any enemies, I never heard her mention it," Hamby said by phone from her North Carolina home. "Lord I just hope, I hope, I hope that they find her."

Prince was born in Virginia and grew up in Dobson, N.C., her mother said.

She studied Spanish for a summer in Madrid before enrolling at Florida State for graduate school.

Prince has been divorced more than a decade, Hamby said.

"I just can't imagine anyone anybody wanting to hurt her," Hamby said. "I hope they find her and I hope they find her safe."

TO HELP

Anyone with information about Sandra Prince's whereabouts should contact Sgt. Robert Boss at (813) 989-7110.