Mother determined to find missing daughter, says “we just want her home safely”

BURR OAK, Mich. — When Jessica Rolfe learned on Monday that her daughter’s cell phone last pinged near the intersection of Watt Road and Fawn River Road, she immediately went to that area. She’d been searching for her 23-year-old daughter Brittany Shank for two weeks. Wednesday morning she created a small search team, consisted mainly of close friends, and they walked  through the woods near that  intersection.

“We’re looking for her and she’s got a green coat,” said Jessica with tears in her eyes. “It’s all we know really. Jeans, and we just want her home safely.”

Jessica began searching for daughter, a mother of four, on December 7 when she learned that she had been missing for a week. Brittany’s paternal grandmother was the last person to see her, which was on November 30.

“She went to her grandmother’s. She did laundry,” Jessica said. “She was with another gentleman. We don’t know who it was. The grandma described him as blonde hair, short, stocky and he had sideburns.”

Jessica gave this information to the St. Joseph County Sheriff’s Office and began her own investigation. She learned from Michigan State Police that an accident had happened on Fawn River Road, where authorities found Brittany’s boyfriend’s car on the side of the road. Jessica checked the site out herself.

“It looks like the car could’ve been moved or backed up,” Jessica said. “But it looks like maybe there was some kind of struggle or she [was] running from something or somebody.”

Jessica said she then went and talked to neighbors on the street and learned that her daughter had gone to houses looking for help. The homeowner of the first home told  Jessica that Brittany came to his house bleeding on her arm and feet. She had no shoes on and no coat. So he gave her an army-green coat and they both tried to call the police.

“She tried to use the cell phone but the reception wouldn’t pick up,” Jessica said, recalling her conversation with the homeowner. “She tried to call the police. She tried to call her grandmother. When he went in to call the police again, she went to another house.”

Brittany ran to the house next door, Jessica said. There was a teenager home when Jessica knocked on the door but she remained outside.

“He heard another knock at the front door while she was at another door,” Jessica said. “So he assumed there was two people out there and didn’t answer the door.”

Then, Brittany took off she said. No one has seen her since. Jessica began searching everywhere in Southwest Michigan and gave police access to all of Brittany's social media accounts and personal notebooks.

“At night I lay awake in bed and just think about where she might be or if she's  suffering,” Jessica said while crying.  “Is she scared? Is she hungry? Is she, you know, those things that run through your head.”

Jessica said she’ll never stop looking for her daughter whom she described as a loving person with hazel eyes and a pretty smile. She included pictures of her on fliers that a close family friend made. It details her last movements and her description: 5’3 in height, 110 pounds with blueish-black hair. She gave the fliers to drivers when they stopped and asked what the search team was doing. She’d always tell them in hopes that they too will keep their eyes out for her daughter.

“Brittany I love you and we all hope you come home safely,” Jessica said continuing to cry. “And I’m gonna find you no matter what. I promise.”

***NOTE: If you have any information about Brittany Shanks, please call Jessica at (517) 677-0727 or family friend Kris McKeever (269) 580-1116 or the St. Joe County Sheriff's Office at (269) 467-9045.***

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