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Story by The Oregon Herald Staff
Published on Thursday June 3, 2021 - 5:09 AM
 
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SALEM, Oregon - A reward of up to $2,500 is being offered for information leading to the whereabouts of Tonna Marie Purnell, 42, of Salem, who went missing in late March.

The cash reward was announced Wednesday by Crime Stoppers of Oregon in partnership with the Salem Police Department.

Crime Stoppers of Oregon offers cash rewards of up to $2,500 for information, reported to Crime Stoppers, that leads to an arrest in any unsolved felony crime. Tipsters can remain anonymous, according to a release.

To submit a tip, visit http://www.crimestoppersoforegon.com/ or visit the App Store and download P3 Tips for your smartphone or tablet.

Original story

Family members and friends of a Salem woman who has been missing for eight weeks are taking to social media seeking information and encouraging anyone with information to come forward.

Tonna Marie Purnell, 42, hasn't been seen or heard from since March 27, when she and a family member were at the Days Inn by Wyndham Black Bear on Motor Court NE, according to a friend and relative.

They say she may have been driving an early 2000s black Ford Escape.

Purnell graduated from South Salem High School in 1997. She is about 5 feet, 4 inches tall, weighs about 135 pounds, and has dark brown hair and brown eyes. Friends said she's been known to shop at the 7-Eleven on Capitol and Shipping streets NE.

Tonya Spangler, of the Salem area, got wind that Purnell was missing April 12 through Facebook, but has since learned few details about what could've happened to her long-time friend.

Since then, Spangler — along with other family members — has used social media to share missing posters, pictures, and descriptions of Purnell.

Salem Police Department spokesperson Lt. Treven Upkes confirmed a missing person report for Purnell was filed April 7 and the information was passed on to the detective unit.

Police officials declined to provide further details citing an open investigation.

Tonna Marie Purnell, 42, hasn't been seen or heard from by family or friends since March 27, when she and a family member were at a northeast Salem hotel. Spangler said she and Purnell don't see each other often, but have always kept in touch via phone every couple of months.

Spangler noticed a message on Purnell's page in April asking, "Have you seen Tonna?", but didn't think much of it at first.

But when she started seeing more messages appear on her feed from people asking about Purnell's whereabouts in early May, "that alarmed me," she said. After that, Spangler got to work spreading the word in the hopes someone had information that would bring her friend back home safely.

"By the time I got wind of it, it was already six weeks of her being missing and I felt like if it's been six weeks and nothing's been happening, then I need to step in and make sure something happens," she said.

Mickey Davis, of Washington, is Purnell's cousin and said he became suspicious after he sent her two messages for her birthday, April 8, and she didn't respond.

"It drew me as pretty odd," Davis said. "I've kept in touch with her consistently ... I message her all the time. That's what drew a red flag was on her birthday, she didn't respond back."

The two had exchanged a few messages several weeks prior, on Davis' birthday.

"I got to tell her I loved her and she told me she loved me — and that was the last message that we went back and forth with," he said.

Both Spangler and Davis said they've kept in close contact with the police department, and more recently, created a Facebook page to spread the word about Purnell's disappearance.

"I just feel like it's been so much time already," Spangler said. "[We've] put in a joint effort to really reach out to everybody and try to make flyers and think of what we can do. Never being in this situation before, it's just kind of, as we think of something, put it out there."

Anyone with possible information about Purnell is encouraged to contact the Salem Police Department tips line at 503-588-8477.