May 23, 2013 at 10:37 am

Hope fades for family of Detroit grandmother

For months, Donna Hudson's family has been holding out ever-diminishing hope she will be found.

The 51-year-old disappeared in June from her brother's apartment near Mapleridge and Chalmers on Detroit's east side. She left for a doctor's appointment and hasn't contacted any family since.

Diagnosed with a heart condition, she had suffered a heart attack and two strokes, said her sister, Beatrice Dinwiddie. None of her prescriptions have been filled and no bank activity has been reported.

Oddly, the cellphone she used remained in service for months, said her granddaughter, Daisy Harris. "It either goes to voicemail or no one picks up. I never stopped calling. It never got turned off."

Residents near Baldwin and Miller said they spotted Hudson with a man in the neighborhood around Father's Day, her sister said.

After a poster was distributed, some residents said they saw a woman they believed matched Hudson's description, but no concrete leads have materialized.

"We've searched fields, all of the vacant houses in the neighborhood, hung posters — nobody has heard anything from her," Dinwiddie said. "It just makes you feel empty inside."

In the months since Hudson vanished, her relatives have sought answers at the Central District police station, and even passed along information about someone they think might know her whereabouts.

Relatives wonder if Hudson might not have been a priority because of her history. Before her health issues, she used drugs and spent short stints in jail for offenses including prostitution, Dinwiddie said.

But she added she believes her sister had been clean.

Sgt. Eren Stephens, a spokeswoman for the Detroit Police Department, said the case was under investigation.

Meanwhile, time passes, and the family holds on only to memories. Talk often turns to the woman who loved baking for her grandchildren.

On a winter evening, while watching the TV news with her mother, a story aired about a woman whose son died in a house fire.

The mother, stricken with cancer, "was like: 'At least they know where their son is at,' " Dinwiddie said. "We just don't know anything. I just wonder and worry about her daily, wondering where she could be. … We don't know if she's dead or alive. … We just don't know what to do anymore. She's just gone missing. That's all we can do is pray and hope that she comes back. "

mhicks@detroitnews.com

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