One Month Following Tragic Discovery, Family of Missing Grandmother Desperate for Answers

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It has been exactly one month since a tragic end in the search for a Tarrant County grandmother.

Carolyn Riggins’ body was found inside her car after disappearing over the summer.

Her daughters are now speaking out, expressing frustration at the lack of answers in their mother’s death.

A celebration of life was held last Saturday. Flowers and family honored Riggins, a beloved great-grandmother.

A celebration of life was held last Saturday. Flowers and family honored Riggins, a beloved great-grandmother.
Riggins Family
A celebration of life was held last Saturday. Flowers and family honored Riggins, a beloved great-grandmother.

“It was a service that was fitting for her,” said her sister Kimberly Haynes. “It was absolutely beautiful.”

Closure, however is not yet possible for the 69-year-old’s sister and two daughters.

“Even though we laid my mother to rest, you’re still not able to grieve properly because of the unknown,” said daughter Kendra Holleman. “We still don’t know how she died or why she died.”

Riggins and her car vanished on July 11, after she won a bingo jackpot in Watauga.

A license plate reader logged the car on I-35 in Denton, heading northbound early the next morning, according to police.

Searches in the area turned up nothing.

Three months later, hunters in Cooke County found the car with Riggins’ decomposed body inside.

The Dallas County Medical Examiner’s Office tells NBC 5 an autopsy to determine cause and manner of death is still pending.

The family said they hired a private pathologist to conduct a second autopsy.

Police previously informed Riggins’ family there were no obvious signs of murder and that some of the cash Riggins’ won was still in the car.

The family, however, feels detectives from Fort Worth and Cooke County aren’t prioritizing the case.

“I just feel like nobody, they don’t care,” said Riggins’ daughter Gayle.

The car had been held by Fort Worth police, released, then held once more, according to Riggins’ sister.

“Our family is thinking; do we need to get an attorney? Do we need to get a private investigator,” she said.

Frustration, like their grief, is mounting as Thanksgiving nears.

The holiday will bring yet another painful reminder of the seat, that will sit empty.

“She loved cooking,” said daughter Gayle. “She loved for us to ask what to cook or how to put whatever in it. So, we don’t have that no more.”

Riggins’ had cut back on cooking duties, but her family said she would always end up making something on Thanksgiving.

“I can’t call and pretend like I don’t know what’s in a sweet potato pie,” said Holleman through tears. “I just called to say: what do you use, mom? I know what Connie uses, what do you use?”

“Their dressing is not going to be good because they don’t have my momma to ask what to put it in so it’s not going to be good,” added daughter Gayle with a smile. “Those are the memories we can’t get back and that hurts. That hurts bad.”

A spokesperson with the Fort Worth Police Department tells NBC 5, the missing person’s case has been closed. However, ‘if the findings come back from the ME that there was foul play, we would assist Watauga and Cooke County with our homicide detectives. This case is not a case that we would take lightly. Every investigation we handle, we handle with the utmost in care.’

The Cooke County Sheriff’s Office has yet to respond to NBC 5’s request for an update on the investigation.

The family of Carolyn Riggins has set up a GoFundMe to help with costs associated with their investigation into her death. If you would like to help, click here.

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