Missing UGA grad found alive and well

Sunday, Sept. 16, 2012 12:56 AM
Last updated 7:18 PM
  • Follow Latest News

A 25-year-old Athens woman who had been missing for nearly a month was found alive and well in Florida, authorities reported late Saturday afternoon.

  SPECIAL
SPECIAL

Ivy Dawn Merck turned up in Miami, where she has been reunited with her parents, according to message that was posted about 6:30 p.m. on the Facebook page of the Camden County Sheriff’s Office in southeast Georgia.

The agency had been searching for Merck since Aug. 23, after the University of Georgia graduate drove from her home in Athens to her hometown of Kingsland in Camden County, but never showed up at her parents’ home.

Authorities had feared the worst, and on Friday even said there was a high probability she had intentionally disappeared with plans to harm herself.

Friday was Merck’s 25th birthday, and family members set up a special Facebook page that day for people concerned about the woman’s well-being to post birthday greetings with hopes she would read them and let her family know she was alright.

Details of how she was found were not immediately available Saturday evening.

The Camden County Sheriff’s Office announced that Merck had been found in a brief statement on the agency’s Facebook page:

“Ivy Dawn Merck was found alive today in Miami. Her parents are with her at this time. More details will be forthcoming but she is alive. Thank you all for your help, support and prayers through this very trying time.”

Merck lives with a roommate on Inglewood Avenue off Oak Street in eastern Athens and is a technician at Good Hands Veterinary Hospital in Oconee County.

On Aug. 21, she told her roommate and supervisor that she was leaving to visit her parents, but Steven Merck said he knew nothing of plans by his daughter to drive from Athens to Kingsland.

She boarded her dog in Kingsland on Aug. 23. One week later, a sheriff’s deputy in Florida’s Broward County found Merck’s car in the parking lot of a shopping center in Deerfield Beach, some 350 miles from her parents’ home.

The car had virtually run out of gas and the tires were so bald it had to be towed from the parking lot, authorities said.

Merck left notes for her parents and roommate in the car that described personal problems she needed to work out, but did not mention anything about harming herself, according to Deputy William Terrell, spokesman for the Camden County Sheriff’s Office.

Investigators turned over those notes, Merck’s diary and other evidence to a group of criminal profilers on Thursday, and the consensus was that she had likely intentionally disappeared with plans to harm herself, Terrell said.

But investigators never lost hope, and one theory they pinned slim hopes on was that Merck might have dropped off the radar because she was embarrassed about publicity her disappearance created, only compounding the personal issues she was struggling with.

That’s why authorities and family members appealed to everyone who was concerned to post birthday wishes on the newly created Facebook page, “Find Ivy Dawn Merck.”

“We created this page to give people a place to express their concern for Ivy and show her how much she is loved and valued by family, friends and the community,” said the missing woman’s sister-in-law, Stephanie Baker Merck.

“We made this page with her birthday in mind, but we would have done it regardless,” she said.

On an Internet site where many concerned friends and even strangers posted birthday messages on Friday, a day later dozens more already were expressing emotions of joy and relief.

“An answered prayer!!!” one person commented.

“I am so glad that she was found alive,” another wrote. “Thank you God for keeping her safe.”

Comments (19) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
grouse
1635
Points
grouse 09/16/12 - 11:25 am
2
1
How does a car "virtually"
Unpublished

How does a car "virtually" run out of gas? I'll bet it "literally" ran out of gas.

wgcopeland
113
Points
wgcopeland 09/16/12 - 11:48 am
4
1
In response to previous comment

Virtually,meaning the gas gauge was registering on"empty"but there was still fuel in the tank.

KSL
121465
Points
KSL 09/16/12 - 03:33 pm
1
4
Wonder how much her odd

Wonder how much her odd disappearance cost taxpayers in the various locales.

goldie53
46
Points
goldie53 09/16/12 - 04:41 pm
6
0
In response to KSL

Who gives a rats butt how much it cost taxpayers. I can't stand you holier than thou people who has never had a problem. I am sure many people out there can attest to wanting to run away or just leave to clear than heads. KSL thanks GOD you have it all together and can solve ANY problem you or your offsprings may have. I pray you never have a thought in your head to just want to disappear and be a beach bum!

Life is tough and at least the college student went away to just clear her head. Thank GOD she didn't harm herself or others. If we never had a problem we would never know how to solve them.

KSL From what you are saying you know it all. Let me give you a life lesson when you leave this EARTH the cost of taxpayers will not be your concern. Trying to continue to live on this EARTH will be your major option at the time.

Thank GOD young lady you were found. Please know your trials will make you stronger! Believe it!

kissofdeath
397
Points
kissofdeath 09/16/12 - 05:55 pm
2
6
I still pondering why when a

I still pondering why when a white person goes missing the mainstream news media give them more attention than African- American, still see no changes in this bias world? Lets pray for this unfolded world.

Gage Creed
15686
Points
Gage Creed 09/16/12 - 06:31 pm
3
1
That chip must be incredibly

That chip must be incredibly heavy?

InChristLove
22420
Points
InChristLove 09/16/12 - 06:33 pm
3
1
I understand someone feeling

I understand someone feeling the pressure and wanting to get away to think, but this is a 25 year old adult who should be responsible enough to know that her family would be worried about her. A simple phone call to say you are okay but you need some time to sort issues out would have been sufficient. I'm curious to know how she ended up in Miami since her vehicle was located in Deerfield Beach, and who is taking care of her animal. It said she boarded her dog but it has been almost a month. Thank God she was okay and I pray her and her family can sort out whatever issues she is going through.

Dixieman
12900
Points
Dixieman 09/16/12 - 06:54 pm
3
1
Odd

Maybe she was kidnapped, maybe she had conflict with family, nobody knows at this point.
"Virtually" meant "nearly" in this context. Still the wrong word choice.

Bantana
2071
Points
Bantana 09/16/12 - 07:36 pm
3
1
whatever

Whatever the reasons, can't we all just be glad that the young woman was found safe? Why do we need to humiliate her friends and family with questions about the costs associated with her disappearance?

Just cruel, really.

KSL
121465
Points
KSL 09/16/12 - 09:03 pm
2
2
A nomal 25 year old should

A nomal 25 year old should not want to put her family or public servives through what she did. It is cruel and wrong. I stand by my opinion until some one stands up and says she reacted because of some type of medication problem. And then I will say she was being wrongly medicated.

KSL
121465
Points
KSL 09/16/12 - 10:08 pm
1
2
I totally agree with you,

I totally agree with you, ICL.

Had it been a kidnapping, at this point we would have known about it. There is something else and the friends and family had a clue.

KSL
121465
Points
KSL 09/16/12 - 10:12 pm
1
3
No, Bantana, it is not cruel.

No, Bantana, it is not cruel. This became a public matter when law enforcement was called in. Public money was spent and the public needs an accounting.

KSL
121465
Points
KSL 09/17/12 - 02:58 am
1
2
She boarded her dog in

She boarded her dog in Kingsland per the article. That would be without checking in with parents, unless that info was withheld from the public. All you have to do is to read the article to extract that information. So she passed through home town.

InChristLove
22420
Points
InChristLove 09/17/12 - 11:13 am
3
0
I'm not concerned about the

I'm not concerned about the cost, I'm concerned about the worry she caused her family and friends, curious as to what happened to her pet, and how she managed to get all the way to Miami without her car.

itsanotherday1
40159
Points
itsanotherday1 09/17/12 - 12:42 pm
1
1
I agree ICL.

I agree ICL.

KSL
121465
Points
KSL 09/17/12 - 12:44 pm
0
2
Bantana, I am tired of

Bantana, I am tired of spoiled, irresponsible people wasting other peoples' time, energy, and money.

And yes, ICL, she cruelly put her friends and family through a lot of grief.

KSL
121465
Points
KSL 09/17/12 - 03:35 pm
0
2
From the second reporting

Of her disappearance, it was clear to me it was self- imposed for whatever reason, I lost my empathy for her at that point. She had personal problems, but she was putting way too many people to grief and, yes expense. At her age I had a 2 year old and a 2 month old. I was expected to deal with life's problems and I did, without taxpayers chipping in.

KSL
121465
Points
KSL 09/17/12 - 03:43 pm
0
2
I am hard nosed and I have

I am hard nosed and I have yet to cost any taxpayer a dime directly. In other words I drive my car on interstates and I am glad my sons are flying safely on airlines (hopefully).

KSL
121465
Points
KSL 09/17/12 - 05:38 pm
0
2
If you are on your way to

If you are on your way to Miami from Athens, you just don't go by Camden County. This is one of the most bizarre stories presented to the public, in my memory.

If the public is asked for help in a disappereance, simply describe the person. Withhold the circumstances.

If that is not happening, be prepated for the comments.

KSL
121465
Points
KSL 09/17/12 - 06:46 pm
0
1
Yep, I guess I am holier.

Yep, I guess I am holier. And I can not stand the attitude that people should be allowed multiple mistakes, misdeeds, missteps.

Back to Top

Top headlines

Fire Department raises sought

The Augusta Fire Depart­ment will present a pay raise proposal for firefighters and administrators to the county’s public safety committee Monday.
Search Augusta jobs