VENICE — Tracey Rieker left her Venice home last week without a purse, cell phone, credit cards or money and hasn’t been heard from since.
At 3 a.m. Sept. 30, 44-year-old Rieker’s husband, Christian, tried to get the mother of four to calm down and go to sleep. Tracey’s children range in ages 12 to 19.
“She just wasn’t herself,” Christian said. “She had been up for a couple of days. She said she didn’t want to celebrate Halloween or Christmas this year. Our daughter was born on Halloween. She said she was getting rid of the Halloween decorations and the tree.”
Christian, 43, called police and alerted friends that she left.
“She didn’t take her cell phone and she’s on it all of the time, so I really am worried that she left so abruptly that she doesn’t have her purse, money or her phone,” he said. “She’s a really great mom. There’s no way she would leave with just my vehicle.”
On Friday night, Christian convinced Venice police that he wanted her “person of interest” status updated to a missing person report.
Tracey is petite, with blonde hair, 120 pounds, 5 feet, 4 inches, and is well-liked and has a fun-loving personality, Christian said. She has a heart tattoo on her ring finger.
Friends searched roads and dozens of businesses from North Port to Sarasota including beaches, preserves, hotels, gas stations and hospitals.
A friend created a Facebook page for any updates. That’s where they learned Christian’s missing 2011 green Xterra, license plate PO8116, was spotted in North Port on Thursday and again later that morning. No one has reported seeing her since then.
Christian said they have been home a lot as a family since COVID-19 hit in March.
Tracey, who had asthma and other breathing problems as a child, was increasingly more consumed by the impact of the virus, he said, sometimes linking it to end-of-the-world thoughts.
Christian said Tracey may be suffering a mental health breakdown. She talked about God much more in the past few weeks and indulged in the Christian faith more in recent months.
One friend posted on Facebook that he saw Tracey, who used to give ghost tours in Venice, at the beach talking to people about God the day before she disappeared.
Christian said the family just wants Tracey to return home.
“We want her to know we love her,” he said. “She’s the best mother that one could be and she’s missed more than anything and we want her back home safely.”
If you have information about Tracey’s whereabouts, call the Venice Police Department at 941-486-2444.