Nearly six years have passed since Eileen Peluffo vanished after traveling from North Carolina to Florida for vacation, and her daughter Rosa is still searching for answers.
“I just want to know what happened,” Rosa de Saron Caro told Dateline. “She’s been gone for six years… we all need closure.”
Rosa was 16 years old when her mother disappeared. She spoke to her on the phone just before leaving with family on a mission trip to Costa Rica. Rosa told her mother they’d be gone for the summer but they made plans to be in touch and get together when they returned.
Eileen, who was 54 years old at the time, had been living in Wilmington, North Carolina with her fiancé, Lloyd Oswald, but they often traveled to Florida, a place she loved. In the summer of 2015, while Rosa, her father and some other family members left for their mission trip in Costa Rica, Eileen headed south to Daytona Beach. Rosa said it was a solo trip for her mom while her fiancé stayed behind in North Carolina.
When Rosa and her family returned to the United States, they were informed by the local authorities in Volusia County, Florida that Eileen’s belongings had been found and that her fiancé had reported her missing.
According to a Volusia County Beach Safety report, Eileen’s fiancé was contacted by the Florida Highway Patrol on July 13, 2015 that the car Eileen had been driving, which was registered in his name, had been located on I-95 and impounded. Eileen was spotted a few days later on July 15, but she hasn’t been seen or heard from since.
On July 16, officers with the Ormond Beach Police Department located Eileen’s purse containing her ID on a sidewalk near the beach.
In September, Eileen’s fiancé called Volusia County authorities and informed them he hadn’t seen or heard from Eileen since July 11. The report stated that due to health issues he wasn’t able to fill out a missing persons report prior to that date, but gave them the information over the phone. He added that it was unlike Eileen to not be in contact with him.
“That’s what worries me, “Rosa said. “My mom just wouldn’t leave her stuff and walk away. I don’t know if she went into the ocean and drowned, or if someone did something to her, but we just want to know what happened.”
Rosa is now 27 years old and continues to do missionary work in other countries while attending college. With the help of her mother’s brother, and a private investigator for a short time, Rosa has searched hospitals, homeless shelters and neighborhoods in the Daytona Beach area, but there has been no trace of Eileen.
Captain Tamra Malphurs with the Volusia County Beach Safety Ocean Rescue told Dateline that Eileen’s case is still open, but there have been no updates and no leads.
Rosa is hoping to change that by sharing her mother’s story.
“It's just been so frightening because no one has heard from her,” Rosa said. “She’s out there somewhere and we don’t know where. We just want to know so we can have some peace.”
Eileen would be 60 years old today. When she went missing, she was 5’2” tall and weighed about 115 lbs. She has brown eyes and black hair, but may dye her hair burgundy. She has a skin discoloration on her chest and a scar on her elbow from a childhood biking accident.
Anyone with information on Eileen’s whereabouts is asked to contact the Volusia County Beach Safety Ocean Rescue at (386) 248-8131 or Volusia County dispatch at (386) 248-1777.