Church members pray 77-year-old Julia Mudgett found safe

By Gregory

HOLLYWOOD, S.C. (WCIV) -- It's been one week since deputies say a 77-year-old woman from Hollywood was last seen. As a West Ashley church celebrated Mother's Day, they also prayed for the safe return of Julia Ann Mudgett.

Church members like James Freston brought memories they have of the woman who lived in Hollywood.

"Ten days ago today she wrote me a four-page letter, and it was the sweetest letter I had ever been written," said Freston. "It read in part 'No matter how hard your day may seem, our heavenly father has not forgotten us, in fact, he loves us, he loves you, with an infinite heart.'"

Freston says the church's Mother's Day service was not the same without Mudgett.

"The atmosphere this morning is a bit melancholy, I mean we are honoring our mothers, but on the other hand we are worried about Julia," said Freston.

Freston says Mudgett sat in the same seat every Sunday, today church members left the seat empty in her honor.

"She usually sits in that same corner in the back, and usually has a couple of guests of with her," said Chris Cooper, a member of the church and friend of Mudgett. "Seeing that she is gone leaves a hole, and we definitely have a hole here without Julia."

Police say the investigation is still ongoing. In the meantime, the bishop of the church instructed the congregation to fast and pray for Mudgett to be found.

The church is planning to hold a vigil this week to honor the missing woman.

Friends of Mudgett reported her missing after stopping by her home when she did not show up for Bible study. They said she and her car were gone, but her three dogs and the oxygen tanks she needs to breathe were left behind.