Sarah Galloway: Missing Woman With Down's Syndrome Found Dead
On February 19, 2020, the Pima County Sheriff’s Office announced Sarah Galloway has been found deceased.
On Wednesday, February 12, a hiker found human remains in rural state trust land, according to Pima County sheriff’s officials. The location is in Picture Rocks, Arizona, and less than a mile from Sarah Galloway’s home where she mysteriously vanished on March 21, 2019.
The Devastating News
On the day the remains were located by the hiker, representatives from the Pima County Sheriff’s Office went and knocked on Sarah's mother's door. They were there to inform Sherry Galloway that remains had been located near her home and that officials would be using DNA identification to determine if the remains were that of her daughter. They promised to notify her as soon as the results were available.
On February 19, 2020, almost a year to the day that Sarah vanished, her mother, Sherry Galloway, received another knock on her door with news from the sheriff’s office that no parent ever wants to get. Two sheriff’s officials, accompanied by two advocates, came in the house and informed Sherry the remains are, in fact, those of her daughter Sarah.
DNA was used to identify Sarah. A cause of death has not been determined.
On March 21, 2019, Sherry Galloway, 66, got out of the shower and, while sitting on her bed, she “realized I didn’t hear Sarah,” she said. She ran to the door where Sarah had been sitting on the porch and looked down the road that leads away from the residence Galloway shared with her daughter in the community of Picture Rocks, outside of Tucson, Ariz. “My first thought was that she had just walked further down the road than she was allowed,” says Galloway. “I got in the car and drove down the road. No Sarah. I was freaking out. Within about 10 minutes, we’d called 911.”
Sarah, 38, had Down's syndrome and functioned at the level of an 8-year-old child. She was a “happy go lucky” young woman who loved to talk about daily events that occurred at her daytime program for adults with disabilities and would pretend to have conversations with her friends.
The day Sarah vanished, police and volunteers canvassed the area on foot, by search vehicle, and used canines, but they could not find a trace of Sarah. Police even partnered with the Department of Homeland Security, conducting searches by helicopter.
Picture Rocks is a picturesque and remote area of Arizona, with a population of approximately 8,500 people. Surrounded by mountains and beautiful rock formations, it is a peaceful place that makes you feel like you are living off the grid. A place where you can raise a family and let children play in the yard.
Sarah’s body would be found in the desert on West Massingale Road and North Van Ark Road, in Picture Rocks. It is not been confirmed if the location had been searched at the time of Sarah’s disappearance.
Sarah was last seen alive at her home in the 10600 Block of West Massingale Road.
A Mother in Shock
While Sarah's remains have been located and identified, there are still questions. Did she wander away and die of exposure? Or was there something more sinister that happened?
Deeply emotional, Sherry was is in the most excruciating pain she has ever been in, like a piece of her has been ripped out. “I will not rest until I know what happened to my little girl out there,” Sherry said.
“I just don’t believe it’s real, it just can’t be real,” said Sherry. “I just can’t say goodbye.”
Sherry officially adopted Sarah when she was twelve and Sarah joined the Galloway family, along with five other siblings.
While Sarah was missing, Sherry kept her bedroom exactly the way she left it and awaited Sarah’s return. She kept her "Frozen" princess coloring books waiting for her to come back and color.
While Sherry waited day in and day out for her precious daughter’s return, throughout the pain of ambiguity, Sherry kept herself busy doing puzzles. Her favorite was of Elsa from Frozen that she had bought for Sarah not too long ago.
“She just loved pretending to be a princess,” said Sherry. “Sarah went everywhere with me, now she’s not coming home. I don’t know which is worse – the not knowing or finding out your child is dead.”
© 2020 Kym L Pasqualini