WESTFIELD CENTER, Ohio — Investigators in Medina County are turning to technology to search for clues in the perplexing disappearance of 53-year-old Jane Milota.
The Medina County Sheriff's Office flew a drone with a 4k camera and thermal imaging over wooded areas in Westfield Center on Friday afternoon.
Detective Larry Covey, who operated the drone, said he was looking for Milota's missing car—a brown Buick Enclave—or anything else that seemed out of the ordinary.
"I'm looking for any trail that maybe we couldn't see using Google Earth that's new that we go walk in," Covey said. "Obviously, if I get get back and I can see tire tracks going through a field that shouldn't be there into a set of woods, something just anything that we can go on at this point."
Jane was last seen around 7:30 a.m. on Aug. 9 dropping off her adult son, who has autism, at his job at The Westfield Inn.
She didn't show up for her shift at Arby's off Route 18 that day and didn't return to her home in Medina Township. Her husband, Warren Milota, then called police.
Jane's cell phone was left at home and she doesn't use credit cards, making it nearly impossible for police to track her movements.
Mr. Milota said it has been an agonizing 11 days as he ponders difficult questions like Did Jane leave voluntarily? Is she in danger? Is she alive?
"I just feel helpless," he said. "I need to find my wife. That's the only thing. I need to find my wife even if she would call and say she's okay. That would be fine. I just need to find her."
Warren Milota said Jane was dealing with hip pain, but he can't think of any reason she would leave the family.
"She didn't entrust nobody if she meant to do this, so if she didn't mean to do this, anything could have happened," he said.
Warren Milota said the unexplained vanishing is also very difficult to explain to his son with special needs.
"He just thinks mom's not home yet so it's a good place to be right now until we get this resolved."
Police recognize the drone effort is a long shot, but it's another tool to help in the desperate search. Medina Township police have also reviewed surveillance video from nearby businesses and requested license plate readers be checked in Ohio and neighboring states.
While police have said there are no signs of foul play, concern is mounting the longer the mother remains missing.
"I can't even imagine what they're going through. I'm married. I have kids and I couldn't even begin to say what they're going through," Covey said.
Jane is 5 feet, 5 inches tall and weighs 140 pounds. She has blonde hair and hazel eyes. She has a Papa Smurf with a soccer ball tattoo on one calf and a butterfly tattoo on the other calf.
A vigil for Jane is planned for Tuesday evening at the square in Medina.
Warren Milota is urging anyone with possible information on his wife or her vehicle to call Medina Township Police at 330-723-5191.
"I am hoping and praying she'll come home. It just gets darker every day that passes and I need to find her."