20 years after mother and son vanished in south Georgia, family is still searching

25-year-old Paula Wade and her 3-year-old son Brandon Wade disappeared in Valdosta on October 13, 2002.
Paula and Brandon Wade vanished in 2002. A new age-progression photo depicts what they may look...
Paula and Brandon Wade vanished in 2002. A new age-progression photo depicts what they may look like in 2022 at 45 and 23 years old, respectively.(WCTV)
Published: Oct. 13, 2022 at 7:34 PM EDT
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VALDOSTA, Ga. (WCTV) - Thursday marks twenty years since a young mother and her son vanished in South Georgia.

Then 25-year-old Paula Wade and her 3-year-old son Brandon Wade disappeared on October 13, 2002. There were no clues at their apartment, a complex that was then called ‘The Commons and that is now known as ‘The Gables of St. Augustine’ located 1415 St Augustine Road in Valdosta.

Paula’s mother and sister spoke with WCTV’s Katie Kaplan on the anniversary. They have never stopped searching.

“It just never goes away. It’s like a nightmare that is always there. You just wonder,” said Mary McGrath, Paula’s mother and Brandon’s grandmother. “Even though it’s 20 years, you just have that (feeling) like it happened just yesterday.”

Paula’s 1998 Chevy Blazer was found at the apartment complex, said Paula’s sister Mary Ramsbottom. Brandon’s car seat was reportedly one of the only other things that were missing.

“The day they went missing I said, ‘Where are they? Somebody somewhere knows something,’ Why is nobody talking?” said Ramsbottom. “Somebody knows something. I never imagined I’d be saying that same phrase 20 years later.”

Even though two decades have passed, they think about Paula and Brandon every day. They have circulated thousands of flyers and keep a website dedicated to the case.

On Wednesday, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children issued a new poster with the first-ever age progression photo of Paula and an updated depiction of Brandon.

At the time of their disappearance, Paula was described as 5 feet, 7 inches tall, and weighing about 150 pounds. She has brown/auburn hair and brown eyes. Brandon was 33-inches tall and 32 pounds with hazel-blue eyes and brown hair.

The new age-progression photo depicts what they may look like at 45 and 23 years old, respectively.

New age progression of Paula Wade depicts what she may look like in 2022 at 45 years old.
New age progression of Paula Wade depicts what she may look like in 2022 at 45 years old.(WCTV)
At the time of his disappearance, Brandon Wade was 3-years-old with hazel-blue eyes and brown...
At the time of his disappearance, Brandon Wade was 3-years-old with hazel-blue eyes and brown hair. The new age-progression photo depicts what he may look like in 2022 at 23-years-old.(WCTV)

Anyone who might have information is asked to call the Valdosta Police Department at 229-242-2606. No tip is too small and you can remain anonymous.