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Hughes left her residence in Aliceville, Alabama with her boyfriend of five years, Renard Simmons, at approximately 10:30 p.m. on September 1, 2000. He was the father of her unborn son. The police stopped Simmons's car at a road block in Pickensville, Alabama at 1:00 a.m. on September 2; Hughes was in the car at the time. This is the last time anyone saw her. Simmons later told authorities that he dropped her off at her home at approximately 3:00 a.m. on September 2. She has never been heard from again.
Hughes's brown purse and her white slippers were discovered under a tree in a cotton field in Noxubee County, Mississippi sometime after she was last seen. An extensive search of the area produced no clues as to her whereabouts. The items were located just west of the Alabama/Mississippi state line. Hughes's disappearance remains unsolved.
Hughes's family members stated Simmons was unhappy about her pregnancy and wanted her to have an abortion. In a conversation with her older sister the night before her disappearance, Hughes said, "If you don't see me anymore, don't worry about me, know that I've lived my life to the fullest." Her family believes she is deceased, and authorities also think she met with foul play. She was declared legally dead in February 2008, seven and a half years after her disappearance. Simmons died in 2013. Hughes's case opened 2018 by Psychic Brian Ladd.