Police are searching for a Virginia woman and her three children considered missing for about two weeks, though her husband has told a local TV station that his family is fine.
Lauren Elizabeth Cook, 30, was last seen with her three children at the the family’s Ferrum home in southwest Virginia at the end of August, and she last spoke with her mother around Sept. 5, according to the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office.
Her children are: 2-year-old Elijah, 5-year-old Hannah and 7-year-old Benjamin.
Here’s what we know:
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When Cook’s mother last spoke with her daughter on the phone, she said that she and the children were in New York visiting family, sheriff’s Sgt. Megan Huston told USA TODAY on Tuesday.
She said that Cook’s bank account has had no recent activity and that her cellphone last pinged on Sept. 7 in Lexington, Virginia, about 90 miles northeast of the home she shares with her husband and children in Ferrum, a rural area in the Blue Ridge Mountains with about 2,100 residents.
“Communication efforts with Lauren have been unsuccessful,” the sheriff’s office posted on its Facebook page on Sept. 13, releasing photos of the family and asking the public for help to find them.
As of Tuesday all three children were listed on the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s website.
They may be traveling in a 2013 blue Chrysler van with a Virginia license plate, the non-profit said.
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Father: ‘I have no reason to be concerned’
Jordan Cook, Lauren Cook’s husband and the father of their children, could not be reached by USA TODAY on Tuesday.
But he told WSET-TV that he has heard from his wife since she’s been considering missing.
“Contrary to what has been reported, my wife and children are not ‘missing,'” the husband said in a statement to the outlet. “I have no reason to be concerned about their safety or well-being. I have heard from my wife, and I’m sure she and my children are doing well. We ask that our family’s privacy be respected at this time.”
‘Still entered as missing’
Despite Jordan Cook’s comments, Huston said that the search for the mother and children continues.
“If the husband has had contact with Lauren since then, we aren’t aware of it,” Huston said Tuesday. “Lauren Cook and the three children are still entered as missing. Law enforcement (wherever it may be) has to lay eyes on her and the children in order for them to be removed as missing from the system.”
Anyone with information about the missing family is asked to contact the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office or their local law enforcement agency.
Natalie Neysa Alund is a senior correspondent for USA TODAY. Reach her at email@example.com and follow her on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter @nataliealund.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Virginia mom Lauren Cook, kids considered missing; husband unconcerned