MARION COUNTY, Fla. – A new search is underway for a missing Lake County mom who has not been seen since late December.
Lacey Buenfil, 25, vanished two days after Christmas. Texas EquuSearch is now joining the search for Buenfil in Marion County.
Volunteers will gather at Marion County Fire Station 6 on Saturday morning to begin a search in the Ocala National Forest.
This week, family members broke the news to Buenfil's three little girls, ages 5, 4 and 1, that their mom is missing.
"We sat them down on Monday and let them know that nobody can find her. So they know now that everybody's looking for mom," said Cyndee Fox, the girls' grandmother.
Fox has coordinated massive searches for Buenfil. Family and friends along with Marion and Lake County deputies have searched the forest and lakes to no avail. Fox hopes Texas Eqqusearch will finally be able to give them closure.
Buenfil was last seen on Dec. 27, 2011 in surveillance video at a Lake County convenience store near County Road 42 and State Road 19. She was with Terry McDowell who deputies call a known meth user and a person of interest. He told authorities the two left the store and went to the Ocala National Forest to do drugs.
McDowell said his truck got stuck in the sand. He told deputies Buenfil left on foot to get help and he never saw her again. Bloodhounds tracked Buenfil's scent from the woods back to State Road 19.
"I'm not blaming anybody. I don't know what happened. I have no idea, but I know the most important thing is finding her to where we can share it with the children," said Fox.
Buenfil's family believes she is within three miles of Marion County Fire Station 6. They have set up a Facebook page called Praying for Lacey where people can see pictures and find ways to help in the search for Buenfil.