Troy teen still missing; another search planned

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GREENVILLE – Another search party for a missing Troy teen is set for 9 a.m. Saturday at 345 Ebbers Road, Troy, the former Kenworthy Race Track location on State Route 202.
The search is for 14-year-old Ellie Carder, granddaughter of Darla Printz Whittaker of Greenville.

Darla, who became the wife of Allen Whittaker this past Aug 27, plans to take part in the search on Saturday and noted that Allen is going to try and make it there as well.

Ellie has black hair and brown eyes, weighs 110 pounds, and is 5-foot/7-inches tall.
Darla’s daughter, Christin Shoffstall of Greenville, is the mother of Ellie, who resides with her custodial father in Troy.

“Ellie left a friend’s house on Jan 31, and the people there told her to go home because of the late hour,” Darla said. “She walked off by herself. She wasn’t wearing a coat but was described as wearing a black crop top, leggings, and Converse shoes, carrying her backpack.”

Darla said the search began on Feb 3.

Why the wait of three days for the search?

“Her father thought she was acting out and was staying out late,” Darla said. “Her brother called her friend’s house to see if she was in school that day, but she wasn’t.”

Darla went on, “I can’t imagine her friends not knowing where she is. Kids need to have a little more fear than they do. Now, it’s a waiting game.”

When asked if Ellie had run away before, Darla said she doesn’t believe so.
She also noted that Ellie’s father is doing his own searches.

Allen and Darla Whittaker are very concerned about her granddaughter, who is missing in Troy. They plan to take part in another search for her on Saturday. (Linda Moody photo)

Darla said Ellie is a freshman at Troy High School but wasn’t really active in many programs there. She was a cheerleader in the younger grades, said Darla, who had custody of Ellie at one point in time.

Darla, who would get visits from Ellie at holidays, described her as “pretty well-behaved; a very vibrant, fun-loving girl; and quiet until she got to know you.”

In addition to Christin, Darla has two other daughters, Christin’s twin, April and Lindsey. She also has nine grandchildren, of which Ellie is fourth to the youngest.

In addition to her mother, Ellie also has two brothers, Dylan of Chicago and Darion of Troy.

Tips that have been received on this incident came to dead-ends, Darla indicated. Someone at Centerville thought they saw her at Kroger’s, but a video at that store proved that theory wrong.

“Tips came from all over…Springfield…Wapakoneta,” she said. “The searches have mainly focused thus far on the Great Miami River and south to Taylorsville Dam at Huber Heights.”
“The Great Miami ends up in the Ohio River,” Allen pointed out.

Do investigators think this is suspicious?

“At first, they did not think it was suspicious,” Darla replied. “They just thought she fell in the river. Someone at ConAgra heard a scream at 9 p.m.”

According to information on flyers, the Troy Police Department believes that Ellie walked away from a residence in the 600 block of Virginia Avenue on Jan 31 at 9 p.m.

“Both witness statements and video surveillance placed her near the area of East Staunton Road and Michigan Avenue, heading to the Great Miami River around 6 p.m. on Jan 31,” noted information on the flyer. Her backpack was located near East Main Street (State Route 41) on Feb 6.”

Another flyer announcing the second search on Saturday gave directions for those wanting to help that day. Those interested in taking part in the search party are asked to find the ‘Missing Ellie Carder Facebook page’ located in Chris Wolford’s pinned post asking for attendants to check in and comment to confirm attendance.”

It also noted that searchers were to download the CALTOPOP app “to help keep track of your progress and location. This will allow us to quickly track areas that have been searched already.”

Those having any information regarding her whereabouts are asked to call Det. Compton at 937-339-7525 ext. 1410. If her location is known at the time of the call, call 911 or 937-440-9911

The Whittakers thank everyone who is helping in the search. …the government, Troy, Tipp City, and Piqua police departments, and Wright-Patterson Air Force Base who searched, via scuba diving, underneath the water. Drones are also being used in these searches.

Darla is amazed with Chris Wolford, born and raised in Troy, who leads community searches such as the ones going on for her granddaughter.

He made this remark after the first search for Ellie: “We covered around seven miles of area around 41 bridge area with not a lot of answers. We are planning another search on Saturday morning if needed.”

In the meantime, the family, they said, is holding up “so-so.”

“We are trying to rule out the river and move on to other things,” Darla said. “So, we can get answers.”

Even though Allen’s daughter, 16-year-old Sarah, took her own life in 2008, he said it was easier to handle.

“Now we’re dealing with the unknown,” he said.