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The search for a missing Missouri woman’s family has caused the loss of their entire life savings and home. A promising lead by a man about the whereabouts of Phoenix Coldon turned out to be a cruel hoax.

“Unfortunately, we will now be losing our family home,” the missing woman’s mother, Goldia Coldon, told The Huffington Post. “We have tried to explain the situation to our mortgage company but they don’t care.”

After investing much of their money to search for Phoenix, Goldia Coldon said, she spent the remainder of their savings on private investigators to follow up on the lead. The man who provided the tip admitted he fabricated the story after the family’s money was gone. Authorities say the man admitted that he made the story up to get attention but have no grounds to prosecute him.

23-year-old Phoenix, a regional fencing champion and piano player, was last seen in her vehicle in the driveway of the family’s St. Louis County home at about 3 p.m. Dec. 18.

“She is very responsible, very sweet, very athletic and very intelligent,” her mother said. The incident is very much out of Phoenix’s character, she adds.

On Jan. 1, Coldon’s family discovered the missing Chevy Blazer had been impounded at 6:23 p.m. the day she disappeared, 25 minutes away from her home, at Ninth and St. Clair in East St. Louis. Authorities say the car was discovered still running with the keys were in the ignition and driver’s door open. Despite these facts, the car had been towed and entered into the police computer as an abandoned vehicle.

“I just wish those police had done what they were supposed to do by running those plates and seeing that the vehicle was registered to me,” Goldia Coldon said. “All they had to do is call and say, ‘do you know where your vehicle is?’ And, look where it was found. Why didn’t they check around the area to make sure somebody was not injured or passed out nearby? Why did we have to learn from someone else where our vehicle was?”

“According to the officer, he did not do an inventory sheet because there was nothing in the car,” she said. “That was not true. When we checked the vehicle at the impound there (were) lots of things in it, including her glasses, her purse with her driver’s license and her shoes.”

The disappearance of Phoenix Colden is similar to the December 2011 disappearance of 36-year-old Stacey English in Atlanta. English was last seen alive on or about Christmas Day.

On Jan. 23, English’s body was found under a tree in a heavily wooded area about a mile from where police found her car. Her death has ruled accidental.

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