Car of missing South Florida woman Maria Claudia Murphy found off Sample Road

CORAL SPRINGS, Fla. - On Tuesday, the fourth day after Maria Claudia Murphy's disappearance, about a dozen of her relatives met with police and made an emotional plea for her safe return.

"Please let us know you're OK," Murphy's niece, Catalina Rojas, 26, said in front of several news cameras.

Rojas, tears streaming down her face, said she hoped her 45-year-old aunt would hear that her family has been searching for her.

Murphy's black 2005 BMW two-door convertible — with Florida tag LZS159 — was found around 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday in a parking lot near the Holiday Springs shopping center at 7932 Sample Road in Pompano Beach. An anonymous tipster reported the car's whereabouts to police. It was towed to the police department to process for evidence, police said.

Murphy and her husband were about to move to Tennessee, and two of Maria Murphy's friends told police that she was excited about the move, according to police.

About 1 p.m. Friday, Murphy deposited $5,000 at an ATM outside Bank of America at 1401 N. University Drive, police said. The deposit was done on her husband's behalf and associated with moving expenses, police said.

Sometime between 2 and 2:15 p.m. Friday, Murphy was possibly seen by a friend crossing U.S. 441 at Copans Road in Margate, police said.

Her husband of nine years, Frank Murphy, said he reported his wife missing Friday evening after he had returned from work, saw it was getting late and she still hadn't come home.

"She never has been seen or heard from since," said Coral Springs Police Detective Chris Collins. "To this point, we're still aggressively looking for her, tracking down all leads."

The search includes trying to recover any surveillance video showing where else she may have been before she vanished, police said.

Police are investigating Murphy's disappearance as a missing-person case. Officials said they haven't determined whether foul play is involved. Murphy is considered endangered, given there is no explanation for her disappearance.

She didn't have her cellphone when she went missing; she did have her wallet or purse, police said. After Friday's bank transaction, her credit and debit cards have gone unused, police said.

She and her husband enjoy breeding exotic reptiles, such as bearded dragons, her husband said. The couple had recently arranged the sale of reptiles to a Broward man, but the transaction apparently didn't happen, police said.

Her relatives have phoned hospitals, distributed fliers and asked for assistance on websites such as Facebook and Twitter.

Authorities urge anyone with information about her or her BMW to call Collins at 954-346-1262, Coral Springs police at 954-344-1800, or Broward Crime Stoppers, anonymously, at 954-493-8477. A reward of up to $1,000 is being offered for information leading to her recovery.

 

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