Elmore County Sheriff's Deputies Say Mother Disappeared "Looking for God"

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By Tamika Bickham

Sheriff's deputies want to find a missing mother. They tell us Lamona Bender's young children were found alone saying their mom left them to "look for God."

No one seems to know what happened to 28-year-old Deatsville woman, Lamona Fields Bender. Her 5-year-old son and 2-year-old daughter were found walking alone down Harragote Springs Road on Monday.

"We saw them right here. It was a young boy and a young girl and they were holding hands. They didn't have a stitch of clothing on," said Heath Woodruff.

But hours before the children were spotted on Harragote Springs Road, Ben Weldon, who lives just up the street, says something strange happened.

"It was about one in the afternoon and I heard a knock on the door," said Weldon.

The knock on the door, Ben Weldon says, came from the mom who's now missing. He says she was alone when she drove her car up here and asked him for directions.

"She looked a little off and she was asking where some churches were. I told her down the street there were two churches and that's the last time I saw her," said Weldon.

She never made it to a church, but instead neighbors say her car was found on a hill, two miles from where her children were found. According to Heath Woodruff, they were dehydrated and hungry.

"A little cut on him and he was dirty, but they had been out in the elements for probably a day, who knows how long," said Woodruff.

When asked about why their mom left, Woodruff says the boy told him.

"Momma left to go find God in the woods. I don't know if mom found God. I know we did because those kids were blessings," said Woodruff.

Sheriff's deputies say the children are fine and staying with family.

The ground search that led law enforcement to the Wetumpka Winn-Dixie earlier Tuesday has been suspended until deputies receive further leads.

Lamona Bender is 28 years old, 5'4" and 130 pounds. Call Elmore County Sheriffs Office at (334)567-5227 if you have a tip.

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