Sonora Cafe Owner Disappears Without A Trace; Abandoned Vehicle Found

SONORA (CBS13) — A mother of two and the owner of a popular cafe has vanished without a trace, leaving her loved ones searching for answers.

Patty Tolhurst was last seen leaving the cafe nearly a week ago. Her vehicle was found abandoned in a remote area east of Sonora.

This came without warning. She had left to get groceries—the store ended up closing early that day, because she ran out of food. She never came back.

Tolhurst loves the great outdoors, away from the city life of the Bay Area where she grew up. If she needed some space, it makes sense this is where she would go.

But what’s mystifying loved ones is the Sonora cafe owner never said she was leaving.

“The not knowing is what really is tough,” her boyfriend Kevin Carter said. “You keep wondering where she is, what’s going on.”

Carter is also the head cook at Patty’s Shack. The cafe was eerily quiet on Thursday and empty.

“The only difficulty is trying to figure out all the different scenarios in the middle of the night,” her dad Tom Kelly said.

He isn’t sleeping much these days. His daughter was last seen by friends on Saturday. Her SUV would be later found abandoned at a remote vista point 30 miles east of Sonora. Her purse was still inside, but the keys were gone.

“It was abandoned, and the sunroof was open and it had been rained in,” he said.

Search and rescue teams found no nearby clues leading to the mother of two.

Loved ones say the stress of owning and running a cafe was building in recent weeks—the staff schedule says it all: 24-7 next to Patty’s name.

In a chilling revelation, Carter tells us that Patty sent two rambling audiotapes to friends. He says he didn’t talk about hurting herself, but told her life story.

It only adds to the mystery that has shaken Sonora.

Her father hopes Patty just needed some time away, and that maybe she’s camping somewhere in the wilderness. With each passing day though, his faith is being tested.

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