By Tony Parra and David Stevens
Nine days ago, a neighbor saw Vicky Lynn leave her Alamogordo home for a routine walk. Family and friends haven’t seen the Farwell native since, despite an intensive search effort by law enforcement and hundreds of volunteers.
“It’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to deal with,” said David Lynn, a former Texico High School football coach and Vicky’s husband for 31 years. “I’m at an impasse. Every time we hear a lead, we get hopeful. … Each time we’ve come up empty.”
Family members and law officers said Vicky Lynn, 54, has a history of depression, for which she takes medication. She’d been off the medication for about three days when she disappeared, they said.
“When she goes off her medication, she becomes very disoriented,” said Capt. Norbert Sanchez of the Otero County Sheriff’s Department, who’s been coordinating search efforts. “A lot of times people in this (condition) can go through a state of amnesia or dementia.”
Sanchez said search efforts have centered on the canyons around Alamogordo.
“We’ve searched all of the remote areas where she walked in the past,” he said. “The terrain is sometimes pretty rough so it’s hard to get into some of those areas. Last week we were getting hit with torrential rains, getting rain every day. The arroyos are running pretty full coming out of those canyons. We’re monitoring the arroyos on a daily basis.”
Sanchez said it’s possible Lynn injured herself walking, and that’s why they’ve focused on remote areas with rough terrain.
“The only other possibility we can think of is somebody picked her up or she walked to a truck stop near her residence and she could have been picked up by a trucker or hitched a ride,” Sanchez said.
A woman who works at the truck stop and knows Vicky Lynn said she may have seen her at the truck stop on the day she disappeared. But Josh Lynn, a former Eastern New Mexico University football player and coach, said his mother walked almost daily.
“There have been lots of reports of people who saw her,” he said, “but they aren’t sure if it was Thursday or Friday or maybe another day.”
Officials said Vicky Lynn had a cell phone with her, but phone records show no activity since she disappeared. Sanchez said authorities are also monitoring her bank accounts and credit cards, but no activity has occurred since she’s been gone.
The Lynns have numerous ties to eastern New Mexico and the Texas Panhandle. Vicky grew up in Farwell, where she still has family. David, now the head football coach at Tularosa High School near Alamogordo, coached about 10 years at Texico and led the Wolverines to a state championship in 1983.
David Lynn said he last saw his wife when he left for school the morning of Sept. 24. He tried to contact her several times during the day, but she did not answer telephone calls.
David Lynn notified law enforcement officials of his wife’s disappearance about 4:30 p.m. that day.
“We searched on patrol that night, but we could not search on foot because of the heavy rains,” Sanchez said. “It was too dangerous so we resumed the search on Saturday morning.”
Hundreds of volunteers have joined law enforcement in the search. On Tuesday, the Eastern New Mexico University football team called off practice and drove to Alamogordo to help.
“It was a great compliment to the Greyhound way,” said Josh Lynn, whose brother Jeff is also a former ENMU football coach. “There’s not many football programs that would take the day off in the middle of the week for a search. They definitely have their priorities straight in my mind. It shows that there are bigger things than football.”
“It did my heart good,” David Lynn said. “It was a pretty selfless act. There were kids that didn’t know us, but still came to help.”
Vicky Lynn was wearing a pink and white top with shorts when she disappeared. She also had a blue visor, was wearing glasses and may have been carrying a water bottle, officials said.