Family desperate to find missing Covington woman

A Newton County family is desperately searching for their loved one who has been missing for nearly two weeks.

The family of Debra Ashby has been hoping and praying for her safe return. She was last seen on October 29th at her home on Kirk Street in Covington. Her mother, Gloria Ashby, remembers her last conversation.

"She told me bye mama and I love you and I'll call you when he leaves, but I never heard anything else," she said.

A missing person case was opened with Covington police on November 1st.

As investigators started looking into her disappearance, they say they arrested her boyfriend 71-year-old Arnithal Freeman for violating a temporary order of protection. Police and her family say Freeman beat Debra earlier this year.

"She had bruises from here down, her jaw was swollen, she had bruises on her arms, I believe she had bruises on her legs, she had 2 black eyes," said Heather Collette, Debra’s Daughter-in-Law.

Debra Ashby

Debra Ashby (Covington Police Department)

Despite the allegations of abuse, the family says Debra stayed with him. Lt. Daniel Digby says Freeman is a person of interest in her disappearance and was likely the last person seen with her. He says the two were captured on a flock camera on October 29th.

"We don't believe she just wandered off," Lt. Digby said.

Using phone data, investigators searched an area Thursday looking for clues.

"We went out with about 60 people and grid searched a large tract of woods that we a place of interest to us," Lt. Digby said.

The family is grateful for what is being done to find Debra, but for Gloria the longer it takes the more hope dwindles.

"I think my baby's gone," she said. "I hate to say it, but that's what I believe."

Ashby's family is planning a search of their own on Friday.

Anyone with information on the case is asked to call the Covington Police Department.