A search is underway for a missing West Virginia mother, as bizarre details emerge amid concerns over who was behind a barrage of private messages apparently sent from her Facebook account over the weekend.
Mary Cathleen Haley, 32, was reported missing earlier this week. She was last seen some time before last Friday.
Haley apparently separated from her husband, William Scott, around August, according to family members. However, Scott turned himself in to the Wythe County Sheriff’s Office on Dec. 11 in response to a warrant issued two days earlier stemming from a class 1 misdemeanor charge. According to court documents referenced by WOAY-TV, he was released “on a personal recognizance bond and is due back in court Jan 7.” Scott claimed to the magistrate that he had not seen his wife in months.
In addition, Raleigh County, W.Va., Sheriff Scott Van Meter told Fox News that Haley was indicted by a grand jury for alleged larceny in Smith County, Va., on Dec. 10 and was wanted there. The sheriff added that Scott has “been 100 percent cooperative from the beginning” of the investigation.
However, associates of Haley painted a picture of pain in the day leading up to her disappearance.
Facebook messages viewed by Fox News allegedly showed that Haley had reached out to a fellow member of a domestic-violence support group, Krissy Musallam, on Friday at 2:28 p.m. and declared that she had been “beaten pretty bad” by her estranged husband a week earlier. She also sent two selfies showing her with black eyes.
Musallam then advised her to go to a domestic-violence shelter and on Friday, and Haley expressed frustration that officials were not taking her abuse allegations seriously. Musallam told Fox News she grew concerned when she did not hear any more from Haley and got no response to an earlier message on Saturday.
According to messages from Haley’s Facebook Messenger, a response came Saturday at 4:32 p.m., stating that “she is fine” and “she is unstable” and that she was “in bed asleep.”
“She was talking about going swimming, but she can’t swim, so I’m not sure,” the person writing from Haley’s account told Musallam, then proclaiming to be “Haley’s best friend, Steven Vaught.”
According to the apparent messages, “her husband is a great police officer,” and she received black eyes as she “fell down steps acting crazy,” raising Musallam’s suspicions as to who was really on the other end and what was going on. The messages said she was likely to sleep through the following day after Musallam threatened to send somebody for a “welfare check.”
On Saturday evening, Musallam asked if she was still married, and the response came back that “she always will be now.” Around 8 p.m. that night, the rambling messages from her account insisted that “she fell in the lake” and that she “tried to kill her (sic) self.”
“Rural Retreat Lake,” the messages continued. “She fell in.... yes she killed herself. She can’t swim.”
The 90-acre impoundment lake is located in Wythe County, Virginia.
When asked why it was not reported, the response came that “I thought she was k” and “She seemed k she does this.” Later, the messages changed, saying the reasoning was, “I was scared” and “I can’t talk any more mam she is okay,” and “She slipped. I’m sure she’s fine.”
The ramblings continued from her account, with the person on the other end declaring that “I thought I should check her messages” and claiming Haley “lied a lot” and was telling people “things that was private.” The individual also expressed being upset that Haley “owned some businesses she wouldn’t put my name on.”
Haley was said to have owned a local ice-cream store and a thrift store but had closed them down in recent weeks.
“She never made me happy,” the messages went on. “She was talking to some man.”
The messages flipped to the person on the other end, claiming to “still work for the state police,” that they were “just sitting here waiting.”
On Sunday, Dec.15, the conversation with Musallam ended, she said, and there was no further response from the account. Musallam told Fox News she then reached out to another associate of Haley’s who also communicated with the missing woman’s Facebook Messenger on Saturday. The messages allegedly coming from her account included, “she’s at peace bro,” “she is where she needs to be,” and “she fell I didn’t kill her,” indicating that her “last words” were the name of her young daughter.
The couple reportedly was married for around 14 months, and the identity of the person using Haley’s Facebook Messenger remained unverified.
Sheila Vaught, the wife of Steven Vaught, told Fox News that she has known Haley for around seven years and that Haley had been staying with her husband and her for a month. Sheila said Steven had co-signed on her new car, a blue 2020 Kia, with the Virginia registration URV 3345.
According to Vaught, Haley had tried to divorce her husband, but he had refused to sign and Haley feared for her life.
Despite the messages sent to Musallam on Friday evening, and viewed by Fox News, stating that she was in Beckley, W.Va., Vaught claimed Haley left their Speedwell, Va., home on Tuesday to drive to the Florida Panhandle for several meetings with bars and restaurants in the hopes of securing work to do their social media and marketing.
“I spoke to Mary on Friday morning, she sounded fine,” Vaught said, noting that Haley supposedly took several meetings but did not make the last meeting that had been set up for her on Friday evening around the Pensacola area.
Vaught noted that Haley had intended to stay in Florida until Dec. 22 and live out of her car before driving to Nashville to see a friend. But, as of Saturday morning, Vaught underscored, she and several other people started receiving odd messages from Haley’s Facebook Messenger on Saturday morning requesting the vehicle identification number of her car.
“Mary knows where to look for that. She isn’t stupid,” Vaught observed, adding that her worries over who was on her Messenger grew.
Vaught claimed bizarre messages kept coming, indicating that Haley had fallen into a lake and that someone would be delivering her car and her phone. She said she contacted law enforcement on Sunday to say Haley was missing, some 72 hours after their last communication. She also said she and others started receiving the same message from Haley’s account on Monday, proclaiming that she was “washing (her) hair and would call them back later.”
The account has not read or responded to messages since then, Vaught said.
Another member of the Tina Stewart Foundation who works with Musallam to support domestic-violence victims, Allyson Hottinger, told Fox News that several male connections from Haley’s Facebook also received odd messages from her private messenger over the weekend, requesting that they meet up, even though they had corresponded directly with Haley previously.
Haley is described by her family as 5’7” and 125 pounds with dirty blond hair and hazel-brown eyes. Family members said she could be either in Beckley, W.Va., or in Wythe County, Va.
“We are not going to give up until we find Mary,” Libby Dickerson, Haley’s mother, told Fox News. “There have been some leads; nothing has panned out.”
Dickerson said she did not know her daughter’s husband very well, and said she had no judgment on him. She also pointed out that while she had not spoken to Haley for several months, her ex-husband – Haley’s father – did so in recent weeks and reported her missing to investigators on Sunday.
Dickerson said while her daughter had “some problems,” and would not elaborate on them, she did say her daughter was not known to disappear for any length of time. She additionally referenced bizarre messages that had come through Haley’s Facebook over the weekend, but said she did not believe them to be from her daughter, noting that whoever used the account could not answer questions that Haley would have known.
She also said she tried to call the Messenger account to hear Haley’s voice, but the person on the other end only typed.
“We are just waiting,” Dickerson stressed. “We just want her home.”
Van Meter told Fox News on Wednesday morning that the matter was under investigation, and that his office learned of some possible sightings but had not yet located anything known to belong to Haley.
He also affirmed that William Scott resigned from the State Police around five months ago, after 25 years of service, before he was hired back in a civilian capacity for motor-vehicle inspections. Van Meter emphasized that Scott had been very cooperative in the investigation.
Scott did not respond to Fox News’ requests for comment.
On her Facebook account, Haley described herself as “fearless.”
“I didn’t come this far, to come this far,” the quote adorning her page read.
The Raleigh County Sheriff’s Department is seeking anyone with information to call the sheriff’s office at 304-255-9300