Dixie offers reward in disappearance

Published: Thursday, January 10, 2008 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 10, 2008 at 12:00 a.m.

Officers searched from the air and in the water for a missing Dixie County woman earlier this week.



Now investigators have turned to a cash reward in hopes of learning any new information about Judith D. Osteen.

A $3,500 reward is being offered by the Dixie County Sheriff's Office and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement for information in the case, said Dixie County Sheriff Dewey Hatcher.

Officers believe Osteen, 60, was abducted in December from the home she shared with her 64-year-old sister. Their home is about nine miles north of U.S. 19/98 off State Road 349.

Osteen's sister told officers she awoke the night of Dec. 15 when a man entered her bedroom and forced her to the floor. Osteen then came into the room. Her relative said the man grabbed Osteen and forced her from the residence.

Osteen, who is 5 feet 2 inches and weighs 120 pounds, has not been seen since, according to officers.

The woman's older sister was not able to provide any additional information about the intruder's description.

Hatcher said investigators used a helicopter to search for the woman Monday and Tuesday. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission used two boats to search the Suwannee River from Rock Bluff to the river's mouth Monday. Searchers found no trace of the woman.

Later this week officers plan to meet with Osteen's older sister in Dixie County where they hope to bring her to the home and see if she might remember more about what happened or about the intruder, Hatcher said.

Anyone with information about Osteen is asked to call the Sheriff's Office at (352) 498-1231 ext. 0.

Lise Fisher can be reached at 352-374-5092 or fisherl@gvillesun.com.

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