A 27-year-old Tampa woman who is a member of the Junior League of Tampa and once competed for the title of queen of Gasparilla remained missing Saturday night near Punta Gorda.
Ellen Anne Quinlan's Toyota Camry was found abandoned Friday, parked in the middle of a dead-end road with her keys and purse inside and a window down.
Her parents, Anne and Gerard Quinlan of Tampa, were in Punta Gorda Saturday looking for their daughter and could not be reached for comment. They told authorities their daughter had no reason to be in Punta Gorda and had not taken needed medication for about a week.
Quinlan's car was found on Shell Creek Court, just off U.S. 17, northeast of Punta Gorda on Florida's southwest coast.
Detectives talked Saturday to residents of the nearby Lazy Lagoon Mobile Home Park.
Witnesses said they had seen a young woman walking around the area in a confused state; one witness said he saw the woman walking out of a canal.
An extensive search was under way, according to the Charlotte County Sheriff's Office. An additional K9 team was called in and conducted a second ground search Saturday. CCSO Aviation also flew over the area for hours.
Quinlan had not been found by nightfall Saturday, but authorities said a helicopter would fly Saturday night using special equipment in hopes of locating her. The sheriff's dive unit also was in the area, as were marine units conducting sonar searches of local waterways.
Quinlan is a graduate of Tampa Preparatory School and Washington and Lee University. She was one of Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla's 2004 debutantes, and in 2008, she was in the running for the title of 95th queen of Gasparilla. Her father has a law firm on Henderson Boulevard in Tampa.
Quinlan was last seen at her parents' Tampa home Thursday night. She left her cell phone there.
Charlotte County authorities asked anyone with information about Quinlan's disappearance to call the Sheriff's Office at (941) 639-2101.
Quinlan, who is white, has brown hair and brown eyes. She is 5 feet 8 inches tall and 115 pounds. She was last seen wearing a red shirt and dark pants.
Jodie Tillman can be reached at email@example.com or (813) 226-3374.