Search continues for former Maine woman missing in California

Posted Feb. 27, 2014, at 10:30 p.m.
Danielle Bertolini
Contributed photo
Danielle Bertolini

BANGOR, Maine — The search continues for a former Penobscot County woman who was reported missing to police more than a week ago.

Danielle Bertolini, 23, was reported missing to Fortuna, Calif., police on Feb. 19. Her family last had contact with her on Jan. 29, according to her mother, Billie-Jo Dick of Plymouth.

Dick said Monday that this is unusual behavior for Bertolini, who usually maintains daily contact with her sister. Dick described Bertolini as an at-risk missing person with a medical condition. Bertolini attended Nokomis High School in Newport, she said.

Dick flew to the West Coast earlier this week to search for her daughter, along with about 15 family members and friends from her home state of Oregon, who have been pounding the streets, distributing flyers, getting the word out on missing person Internet sites and doing whatever else they can to find Bertolini.

“We have a couple of different leads,” Dick said Thursday night in a telephone interview, adding that she has sought out and spoken with some of the people she believes may have knowledge about her daughter’s whereabouts.

Dick also said that police in California have told her they were providing information about the circumstance surrounding the case to the Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office.

Dick, who is a volunteer with Down East Emergency Medical Institute, said the Maine-based organization has been helping coordinate the California effort from afar and has a tracking dog on standby. She said the searchers have received donations from a few local church and business groups from the Fortuna area.

Police have told Dick they consider her daughter a “voluntary” missing person because of her age, and as such, their ability to assist was limited. She said, however, that she and her family and friends have been receiving support and offers of assistance from throughout the United States.

Dick said she was able to fly to the West Coast because of the generosity of her employers, Linden and Karen Lee, owners of Lee Residential Services, a group home for people with disabilities in Hampden.

Dick said Thursday night that she is frustrated that authorities aren’t doing more to help.

“Frustrated? You have no idea,” she said. “I’m not trying to step on anybody’s toes, but this is my daughter, my baby.

“My return flight is on the 11th [of March] but I don’t even want to come home until I find her,” she said. “Thankfully, I have family here to keep me strong. This is the worst feeling that any parent could go through. It’s the not knowing that is the worst thing.”

Bertolini was last seen around Feb. 10 wearing a blue jean jacket and blue jeans while carrying a light blue backpack in the Campton Heights area of Fortuna, according to a missing person flyer prepared by family members.

She is 5 feet, 2 inches tall, weighs 105 pounds, has blue eyes and long, bleach-blonde hair. Bertolini also has a nordic star tattoo on her lower back, a tribal tattoo on the back of her neck and a bright blue and purple tattoo on her inner wrist. She also has a lip piercing.

Anyone with information about Bertolini’s whereabouts should contact Fortuna police at 707-725-7550.

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