KINGSLAND, Ga. - Investigators and the family of a missing 24-year-old Kingsland woman are very concerned that she hasn't been seen or heard from in eight days.
Ivy Merck didn't show up for work in Athens on Aug. 23, and her family says it's unlike her to just disappear.
Camden County deputies said Merck was last seen in Kingsland at Laurel Oaks Animal Hospital near Interstate 95. Her car was found in South Florida two days ago, but there was no sign of her.
At least four different agencies in two states are trying to solve the mystery and bring Merck home safe.
"She always showed up when she said she would, and she was just a beautiful, conscientious young lady, and for her to just go missing is very strange," said Deputy William Terrel, of the Camden County Sheriff's Office.
That's why detectives are so concerned about Merck, a University of Georgia graduate who grew up in Kingsland.
"We have to assume that there may be something wrong," Terrel said. "It would be unsafe and unwise to assume otherwise."
Investigators said people started to notice something may be wrong when Merck didn't show up for work last week at a vet clinic in Athens. Her roommate didn't know where she went.
Investigators said Merck went to the animal hospital in Kingsland to board her dog. The owner of the clinic didn't want to comment Friday.
Deputies in Broward County, Fla., found Merck's SUV at a shopping center in Deerfield Beach on Wednesday.
"We don't want to talk about what was in the car," Terrel said. "Some of her belongings were in the car. It was clearly her vehicle. She had been in it."
Merck's father, who lives in Kingsland, told detectives he could not imagine who his daughter could be with. He said he's called her friends and nobody knows what happened to her. And he told investigators he doesn't know of anyone that his daughter may have ongoing problems with.
So for now, police from many different agencies continue to search for the young woman, hoping she'll turn up safe and sound.
"We're doing everything we can to find her, trying to understand what happened, the sequence of events, who spoke to her last, and try to work backwards," Terrel said.
Merck is described as being 5 feet 1 inch tall and about 115 pounds, with brown eyes and dark blonde to brown hair.
Anyone with information on Merck's whereabouts should call the Camden County Sheriff's Office at 912-729-1442 or the Broward Sheriff's Office at 954-321-4268.
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