Six digital billboards have been launched this week in an effort to solicit information that could lead to the whereabouts of a Wilmington mother who has been missing for nearly two months.
Ebonee Shanetta Spears, 30, was last seen at her home in the 1300 block of Brooklyn Lane in the Taylor homes community near downtown Wilmington on Jan. 15, according to investigators with the Wilmington Police Department. On Monday, organizers with the CUE Center for Missing Persons announced that six billboards about her disappearance would go live in the Wilmington area.
One of those billboards, located at McAlister’s Deli at 740 South College Road, was featured during a Monday morning press conference organized by CUE Center for Missing Persons. Other digital posters and messages will be active at several locations throughout the city including: 3516 S. College Road, 4100 Oleander Drive, 6010 Oleander Drive, 5625 Market Street, 706 South College Road, and 6826 Market Street. The billboards were donated by Wilmington Funeral and Cremation.
“This is an important event, because she’ll have 500 views a day between all six billboards. They stay up approximately eight seconds. So, 500 times a day that information is going to go out there about Ebonee and we’re really hoping that…somebody will call and give some information so [investigators] can move forward in locating her,” CUE Founder Moncia Caison said during the press conference.
Spears has not been heard from or seen since she went missing in January. Since her disappearance, investigators and community partners have been on an active search for Spears, Caison said. Professional K-9 teams, horse teams, and ATV and ground support teams with the CUE Center for Missing Persons from North Carolina, Florida, Virginia, and South Carolina all have been involved with local police to search for Spears.
“Billboards do work. We’re hoping that this will produce that piece of information [investigators] have been seeking. There’s somebody out there that we haven’t reached,” Caison said.
Billboards are an extra avenue the non-profit organization uses to provide extra attention to missing person cases, Caison said. The digital posters are a way to keep volunteers from doubling their efforts in trying to keep posters up around town.
“With the billboards, they can’t be taken down. It’s larger than life, it gets a lot more attention, you get so many reads per day of people going up and down the highways and they are all in main traffic areas,” Caison said.
The CUE Center for Missing Persons has been searching for Spears most weekends. Just this past weekend, more than 40 volunteers with the organization searched about six acres of a wooded area off Independence Boulevard from Carolina Beach Road to River Road, Caison said. The search helped “eliminate space” in the city, as part of the organization’s work to locate Spears, she added.
“Our hope is that Ebonee has lost her way and law officials can obtain the information for a resolution to this case. Her family and our volunteers will not give up on finding her,” Caison said. “I know the family is very grateful for the community…that Wilmington has been wonderful in supporting this case. And the investigation is working hard on it. And we’re just trying to aid in that effort to bring a resolve.”
Investigators with the Wilmington Police Department and members of Spears’ family were also in attendance for the unveiling of Spears’ billboards. Along with the CUE Center for Missing Person’s efforts, Wilmington detectives continue to follow up on leads in the case.
According to Wilmington Detective Lee Odham, investigators have yet to find any information to suspect Spears was abducted. But they haven’t been able to rule one way or the other whether foul play has been involved in her disappearance.
“We’ve had hundreds of leads with negative success,” Odham said. “All viable leads have been followed.”
The police department continues to receive tips about Spears, Odham said. Investigators have been working to search much of North Wilmington, including the wooded area near the police department and behind the Love Grove Community, areas around Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway, McRae Street, as well as marshes and creeks in those areas, and even the Cape Fear River.
Anyone with information about Spears or her whereabouts is asked to contact the Wilmington Police Department at 910-343-3609 or Text-A-Tip to CRIMES. Start your message with Tip708, then type your tip. Information can also be given to CrimeStoppers at 1 (800) 531-9845.
Read previous coverage of the missing person case: