July 19, 2024

Everything we know about missing woman Hope Tucker

Hope Tucker [Buckeye Police Department]

Since Buckeye Police Department issued a missing person notice for 46-year-old Hope Tucker, information has flooded social media and news outlets across the nation — some details truer than others.

Here's everything we know so far.

THE TIMELINE

A timeline graphic issued by Buckeye Police Department on social media June 25. [Buckeye Police Department]
Early in the morning on May 22, Tucker's purple Dodge Charger broke down on Interstate 10 between Verrado and Watson Road. According to Tucker's son, they left the vehicle and sought shade. Police speculate Tucker may have suffered a medical emergency afterward and died.

At about 11 a.m. that same day, a state trooper found the abandoned vehicle near milepost 119 and had it towed.

On May 24, BPD responded to a call for indecent exposure at the QT on Watson Road where they found Tucker's son publicly urinating. He appeared to be in medical distress. He was transported to the hospital where he stayed for about a month. At the time, BPD did not know the man was Tucker's son.

On June 22, Tucker's son told a relative about what happened that morning a month prior. The relative contacted Phoenix Police Department, which sent the case to BPD. At that time, BPD realized he was the man who was transported to the hospital from QT on May 24. Police attempted to ping Tucker's phone without success.

BPD released a missing person's notice for Tucker on June 23 and an investigation ensued.

 

SON DIAGNOSED WITH AUTISM, HAS LIMITED VERBAL SKILLS

Tucker's son is an adult who is diagnosed with autism. He has high support needs and extremely limited verbal communication, says BPD Public Information Officer Carissa Planalp. The information known about the events of May 22 are communicated through Tucker's son. Because of his verbal challenges and the high-need level of his diagnosis, gathering details and conducting interviews is incredibly difficult.

"The information we are gathering is with the assistance of Hope's son and a relative who is facilitating," Planalp said.

Planalp said Tucker's son often communicates in single words deciphered through the relative, such as "hill," "fence" or "tree."

"Hills, fences and trees are all along the I-10," Planalp explained. "This has been a struggle for us."

 

HE MAY HAVE SEEN HIS MOM DIE

Tucker's son said he saw his mother close her eyes and stop talking, which may have been her dying. However, that has not been confirmed. Planalp said this is not new information and it was known at the beginning of the investigation. Due to the limited nature of his verbal communication, verifying what the son meant by this statement is a challenge.

If Tucker's son indeed saw his mother die, it may have been due to a medical emergency, Planalp said. However, the department is not limiting the investigation to only a physical search to locate a body.

"Detectives are working diligently behind the scenes to piece some of this information together," she said. "Those details are still being gathered and we appreciate everyone's patience."

 

ONGOING INVESTIGATION EFFORTS

Since Tucker was reported missing, BPD and assisting agencies have searched the area and conducted investigations.

On Sunday, the Arizona Department of Public Safety and Maricopa County Sheriff's Office conducted helicopter searches of the area.

Monday morning, Buckeye Police Rapid Deployment Unit, Gila River Police Department's K9 units and drone operators searched areas to the north and northwest of I-10 between Verrado and Watson Road. The below images were shared on BPD's social media sites.

[Buckeye Police Department]
[Buckeye Police Department]
[Buckeye Police Department]
Planalp said Tucker's son and another relative were taken to where the Challenger was found May 22 in hopes that the son could indicate where he went with his mother when they exited the vehicle, what side of the freeway they walked to and any additional details being on scene might recall for him.

"Unfortunately, he was unable to provide any additional details, so efforts are on-going," Planalp said.

Anyone with information on Hope Tucker’s whereabouts should call 911 or submit a tip online at BuckeyeAZ.gov/CrimeTip.

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