May 23, 2013 at 10:37 am

Mother of 5 had turned her life around, family says

Sandra Lewis, a mother of five, was last seen about 10 days before Christmas, after a relative dropped her off at a home near Seven Mile and Cardoni.

That was only a few blocks from the home where Lewis, 46, lived with her husband, Harold, and their two sons. But she wanted to hide the outing, possibly because of her battle with drugs, Harold Lewis said.

Sandra Lewis, who was unemployed, hasn't been seen since Dec. 15 or contacted relatives. She wasn't carrying a purse; calls to her cell phone went to voicemail. A relative traced the phone to an area near Woodward and Seven Mile.

Christmas, for which Sandra Lewis had been busily decorating and buying gifts, passed without her there.

The outgoing woman had left before, her husband said, but never for more than a few days and "she always came back."

Her relatives have canvassed the streets, stopped at vacant homes and plastered walls at stores with posters, but nothing has proved helpful.

"Something is not right," Harold Lewis said. "I feel like somebody has my wife hostage in their house. My wife is street-smart. … So something has gone wrong with my wife."

Her disappearance is a puzzling interruption to what relatives call a turnaround. She had recently returned to church and was focused on readying her two youngest children for school and tending to loved ones, said her mother, Ethel Lewis.

"She was real friendly, made everybody laugh," she said. "She always was the fun wherever the party was — being the joker."

Some days, Ethel Lewis is overwhelmed with thoughts of finding her daughter murdered or "in some trunk, taken out of town somewhere," she said. "I don't even want to get up from the bed. I lost my mother not too long ago. … All I do is think about both of them. We try to make it seem like we don't want to accept the worst, but I know it's got to be because she wouldn't be gone this long."

mhicks@detroitnews.com

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