A mother searches for her daughter who may be suffering from drug-induced delusions.
In the early morning of April 26, 2000, a young woman was spotted wandering in a restricted area of the Reno, Nevada, airport. She appeared disoriented and frightened. When an airport police officer was called in, he found her hiding behind a truck.
She said her name was Star Palumbo, and she claimed she was trying to find her younger sister, who was running loose on the tarmac. The airport police officer felt that Star’s story might not be true. But, according to Barry DeBoor of the Reno/Tahoe Airport Police, the officer also believed that she had no criminal reason for being out on the runway:
Star was dropped off near a hotel. The next day, an illegally parked car was discovered at the airport. Barry DeBoor ran a check on the license plate:
In the car were Star’s cell phone, her purse, and $600 in cash. But other items caused more concern. There were copies of three e-mails sent to the White House. It seemed Star felt the government was trying to murder her. Police also found a morbid drawing that depicts a woman bound and gagged. And finally, they found two books on how to change one’s identity. According to Reno Police Detective David Jenkins, Star never showed up to claim her car:
There was a time when Star Palumbo was once full of hope and promise. But authorities believe that she fell into a world of dangerous and addictive drugs that threatened to end her life. Star’s mother, Gail, is convinced Star is alive and may one day come home:
One year before she disappeared, Star left her home in Arizona and moved to Reno. It was here, Det. Jenkins believes, that her life took a tragic turn:
Star worked as a cashier at a pawnshop, but according to her friends, her drug habit cost more than she made. Det. Jenkins said police believe she began to look for other ways to make money:
Star lived with her grandmother and called her mother every week. Gail Palumbo says
According to her mother, Star wanted to turn her life around. She talked about flying home to Tucson and starting over. But Gail Palumbo has not heard from her daughter since that call.
Star’s parents began a massive search. Star’s picture was posted throughout the state of Nevada. Det. Jenkins spoke to a casino owner, Linda Fields, who claimed to have seen Star in her Elko, Nevada, casino in December 2000, eight months after she disappeared:
Linda says that Star became extremely upset when she saw a man looking at her through the bar window. Star quickly left with another young woman. There have been no additional sightings.
The disappearance of Star Palumbo is still an open investigation.