Family of Foley woman missing since 1982 asking people for any helpful information

22-year-old Diana Leigh Avera was last seen in Mount Vernon, Alabama in 1982
Published: Sep. 16, 2023 at 10:51 PM CDT
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MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - The Mobile County Sheriff’s Office taking a closer look into the cold case of a Foley woman missing for over 40 years.

22-year-old Diana Leigh Avera was last seen in Mount Vernon, Alabama in 1982.

FOX10 News spoke to Avera’s niece, Amanda Hill, who is pleading with the community for any leads on her Aunt’s disappearance.

Hill says Avera suffers from schizophrenia and was in and out of Searcy Hospital.

In May 1982, Hill says Avera was arrested for disorderly conduct and transferred to Searcy again. Three months later, Hill says Avera allegedly escaped from the hospital and vanished,

For years, Hill says she and her family believed Avera was reported missing to law enforcement, but that was never the case. The Department of Mental Health was the only entity investigating her disappearance. Avera’s family officially reported her missing in August 2020.

Hill says MCSO opened the case in 2020. Since then, Hill says she and her family have submitted DNA samples.

Now, detectives are digging deeper. Hill says they just assigned a new primary detective for the cold case last week.

And, Hill is asking anyone with any helpful information to come forward.

“Anything they can remember at all-- even the smallest thing, that anybody can remember, or if anybody that worked at Searcy remembered her,” said Hill. “She was loving, she’d do anything for anybody. She didn’t meet a stranger, she loved people.”

If you think you have any beneficial information, call the Mobile County Sheriff’s Office.

There is also a public Facebook group for the search of Avera.