(WJET/WFXP/YourErie.com) — While many people gathered with their families to celebrate the holiday season, two families spent their first holiday seasons without their missing loved ones. Both Candice Caffas and Debra Sue Daniel have been missing from Meadville since the summer of 2022.
Candice Leeann Caffas is a Meadville resident who was last seen on July 16, 2022. She was 34 when she went missing. Her birthday was July 23 and she turned 35.
Caffas has Prader-Willi Syndrome and has the mentality of a 10- to 12-year-old. She was seen at about 10 p.m. on July 15 walking on Mount Pleasant Road in Meadville. Then she was seen on the railroad tracks on State Game Land #213 on Route 285 between Geneva and Conneaut Lake at about 5:30 a.m. and 5:45 a.m. on July 16. She is 4 feet 9 inches tall, weighs 95 pounds and has green eyes and sandy blonde hair.
She is missing her front teeth and wears blue metal-framed glasses. On the day she went missing, she was wearing a purple shirt, orange floral shorts, and purple and blue sneakers.
Police say she climbed out of her bathroom window and may have been searching for food due to her medical condition. She has left home in the past but had never been missing this long. In the past, she was found near water.
While law enforcement has discontinued large-scale search operations, friends and family continue to organize search groups throughout the area.
“We’ve searched everywhere. Miles and miles that we’ve covered and haven’t seen anything. We haven’t found anything. The police say it’s still an active investigation and they’re following any leads that they get. But they don’t really tell us anything other than it’s still active,” said Carol Caffas, Candice’s mother. “We just need people to know that she’s still missing and we’re still looking every day. We haven’t missed a day yet.”
A $12,500 reward has been offered for information leading to Caffas’s recovery. Anyone with information can call Pennsylvania State Police at (814) 332-6911.
Debra Sue Daniel is a Meadville resident who was last seen on Aug. 15, 2022. She was 68 when she went missing.
Daniel was last seen in Edinboro where she visited her mother at Edinboro Manor Nursing Home. She doesn’t own a car, so should would often walk Route 19 from Meadville to Edinboro. At times she would hitchhike.
She is believed to have gone back to her Meadville apartment later that day because her purse was later found during a wellness check. But her phone, keys and wallet were missing.
Daniel’s family provided a statement on Jan. 2 thanking the police and the community for their ongoing support.
“It has been almost five months since Debra went missing, and we are no closer to any answers in her disappearance. We are handling the search as best as we can from out of state, and we are keeping in touch with detectives. Any new leads that come up we are forwarding to them, and working with any sources that come along for potential help,” the family statement said. “We are so thankful for the help and the prayers from detectives, those on Facebook, those in the Meadville, Edinboro and Erie communities, and from reporters who are helping to keep Debra and Candice’s stories out there. We are confident that we will have answers someday, and until then keeping Debra’s name and face out there is the best possible advantage she has to coming home.”
Anyone with information about Daniel can contact Meadville Police at (814) 724-6100.
Police have told the Caffas family that they don’t believe the two missing-person cases are related, Carol Caffas said.
“When Debra Sue went missing, the Meadville City Police and the Pennsylvania State Police have talked, and they tell us there are no similarities, but neither has been found,” Carol Caffas said. “But we have searched thousands of miles and we haven’t seen anything of Debra either.”
“We just need people to keep getting the word out there. Every once in a while, people will say ‘Oh, you mean she hasn’t been found yet?’ and we just need people to know that she’s still missing,” Carol Caffas said.