Bahamas search crews say they’ve found missing Chicago woman’s phone in water

Family of missing Chicago woman pleads with authorities in Bahamas for her return


Family of missing Chicago woman pleads with authorities in Bahamas for her return

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CHICAGO (CBS) – Authorities in the Bahamas say that they’ve recovered an iPhone they believe belongs to a Chicago woman who went missing there about three weeks ago, though officials admitted Monday they have not as of yet been able to open it to access its contents. 

Taylor Casey, 41, was last seen in the Bahamas on June 19. Her family says Casey, who has been practicing yoga for 15 years, was attending a yoga retreat “to fulfill a long-term goal of deepening her practice.”

Police in the Bahamas were first alerted to Casey’s disappearance by the Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat, which asked them to investigate after Casey failed to attend morning classes.

Police Commissioner Clayton Fernander said that, during a June 22 search, a dog picked up a scent from a tent and tracked it to the water, but the scent ended there. They subsequently located a phone under roughly 56 feet of water.

Investigators in the Bahamas asked American authorities for help unlocking the phone, but they also had no luck, Fernander said Monday. Authorities also reviewed surveillance footage from around the island, but there is “no information to connect at this time,” the police commissioner added.

Officials added that underwater drones were used in the search for Casey on July 3, but they didn’t come up with anything. Meanwhile, surveillance footage from the hotel has also yielded no results. 

Missing woman’s mother seeks answers, increased urgency

Casey’s mother reported Casey missing, but she says when she first arrived in the Bahamas to speak to investigators, she says she did not see a single missing persons flyer for her daughter. 

“They were just really nonchalant and just not acting like it was their child missing,” she said. “I had to return home without her. This is every mother’s worst nightmare.”

The flyer that’s now posted in the area does not provide details of the circumstances of her disappearance or say whether foul play is suspected.

Casey’s family asked the FBI to take over the search, saying they “are not satisfied with how this investigation has been handled thus far.” 

“What we learned and observed during our time meeting with the authorities and Ashram leaders is disturbing and infuriating,” Emily Williams, a friend of Casey who accompanied Seymore on the trip, said in a release.

When a U.S. citizen is missing, the department works with local authorities and communicates with families openly, a State Department spokesperson said. When asked for comment, the FBI referred CNN to the Royal Bahamas Police Force.

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