Family fears missing 25-year-old woman was taken against her will

Jenna Van Gelderen was reported missing Aug. 19 from her family's Druid Hills home.

Jenna Van Gelderen was reported missing Aug. 19 from her family's Druid Hills home.

Shortly after 2 a.m. on a Saturday morning, an Atlanta woman texted a close friend to say she was laying down. It was the last time the 25-year-old used her phone, her family says. And it was nine days ago.

While her parents visited Canada, Jenna Van Gelderen had planned to spend the weekend house-sitting at their Druid Hills home, her father said Monday. But when William Van Gelderen went to the home the morning of Aug. 19, his sister’s car was gone. The door was locked and Jenna Van Gelderen’s suitcase was gone, the family told police. Gone from a wall was a missing tapestry that dated back to World War II, though the frame was left behind.

“There was no reason to believe she would leave unexpectedly,” Leon Van Gelderen, Jenna’s father, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Her two cellphones were also gone, but not the chargers, her father said. Many of Jenna’s personal items were still in the home.

“What woman takes off and leaves her makeup and toiletries and shoes behind?” Van Gelderen said.

Though she wanted to be an independent adult, Jenna Van Gelderen had developmental disabilities as a child that affected her social interactions as an adult, her father said.

“Because she’s very impressionable, she has been taken advantage of by a lot of people,” Van Gelderen said.

William Van Gelderen told police his sister had been prostituting, but was taking career counseling classes. The family didn’t know Jenna’s friends, and she had declined to tell them where she was living, according to the police report. The family has hired a private investigator to help find Jenna, who they fear was taken against her will.

Jenna Van Gelderen has long brown hair, is 4-feet-11 and weighs 140 pounds. Her car is a dark blue, 2010 Mazda 6 sedan with Georgia tag PWH-5902. Anyone with information about the woman’s whereabouts is asked to contact DeKalb police.

A prayer vigil is planned for 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Shearith Israel synogogue in Atlanta.

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Channel 2's Tony Thomas reports.