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South Florida grandmother missing for weeks; family pleads for return

Loraine "Lori" Feliciano-Pino had planned a weeklong trip with her family for Christmas before she went missing.

>> Read more trending stories

The South Florida resident’s newly married son and his wife, her daughter and her son-in-law who live in Orlando with their two daughters and her husband were all headed north to celebrate the holidays. All of her gifts were bought and ready to hand out to the little girls she adores so much, her sister Rosannie Feliciano said.

Instead, her young granddaughters went searching throughout a family home Christmas Day asking where “Mima” was, Feliciano recalled, getting choked up.

"She had so many things to look forward to," Feliciano said. "So it doesn’t make sense that she’d just leave."

Feliciano-Pino, 47, was last seen on the night of Dec. 19, leaving her home west of Boca Raton in her 2011 gray-green Toyota RAV 4 with Florida tag HBGY58. Family and friends say they haven’t heard anything from her since.

The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office sent out a missing notice four days before Christmas, explaining that though Feliciano-Pino wasn’t sick and that she did not have any mental disorders that would cause her to endanger herself, "it is unlike her character to go missing," so it considered her missing and endangered.

Feliciano-Pino’s son, Jonathon Otero, said his mother had been in good spirits just two days before she disappeared "without a trace." She threw a 50th birthday party and barbecue for her brother and the entire family came together.

"We’re a very close family," Otero said. "We think of every possibility of what happened, and none of them make sense."

On the Monday she went missing, he said he spoke with her throughout the day because he was Christmas shopping and wanted to know what size clothes his nieces wore and what she wanted.

"It just seemed like any other Monday," he said.

On Tuesday morning, Otero got a call from his aunt asking if he had heard from his mother. Sometime Monday night, she explained, Feliciano-Pino left her residence and hadn’t returned.

"I’m a firefighter and paramedic, so I called all the hospitals and went into a mode," he said, saying his professional instincts kicked in. "It’s just strange because she’s not a night driver. It’s all out of the blue and has us all dumbfounded."

Christine Guagenti has been friends with Feliciano-Pino since they were growing up in Brooklyn, N.Y., decades ago. Like many expressed in interviews and on Facebook, they have know idea where she would have gone or why she left without telling anyone.

"It’s honestly like she dropped of the face of the earth," Guagenti said.

Loraine Feliciano- Pino, please come I can't bear not know!!!  I LOVE YOU AND MISS YOU !!!!!!!!  TODAY IS FRIDAY THE 13TH IT OUR DAY!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by Angela Arroyo on Friday, January 13, 2017

Otero said he checks in with the sheriff's office detective assigned to the case at least once each week for updates.

So far, investigators haven’t been able to track her phone because it’s either been turned off or its battery has died. There has been no activity in her bank accounts or credit card, and none of the neighbors interviewed remembered seeing her leaving. But what's most astonishing, Otero said, is her car hasn’t turned up anywhere.

"It’s a small bit of hope," he said. If something bad had happened, like she were killed or carjacked, they would have found the car by now, he said. "It’s hard to lose a body. It’s not hard to lose a car."

Her family cannot understand how she could just disappear without telling anyone. Feliciano said after their parents died many years ago, Feliciano-Pino became the makeshift matriarch of the four siblings. She throws parties, is always the first person to help out with anything and if you needed someone to talk to at 2 a.m. she’d be first to pick up the phone.

Otero said his mother is "the strongest person" he knows and is always giving to others.

"I’d have to stop her sometimes and say, 'Hey, do something for yourself before you do it for anyone else,' " he joked.

Once you make your way through the dozens of Facebook posts on her wall pleading for Feliciano-Pino’s safe return and the many prayers, you find a woman obsessed with her two grandchildren, constantly surrounded by family, full of pride in showing off her newly married son and traveling with her husband.

Posted by Ann King Muscato on Thursday, January 12, 2017

Feliciano said her sister’s granddaughters are coming back to Palm Beach County soon, and she’s not sure what they’re going to tell them this time when they ask for their "Mima." Her hope is her sister will be home by then.

"She’s the glue that keeps the family together. We’re always together," she said. "So it’s so weird to not have her back already. We all feel lost without her."

Anyone with information about Pino is asked to contact the sheriff’s office at 561-688-3400 or the nearest law-enforcement agency.

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