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Volunteer search and rescue group to continue searching for missing Newport News woman

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Posted at 9:22 AM, Jul 28, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-29 11:56:14-04

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – It has been a week and a half since an Ashanti Alert was issued for a missing Newport News woman and the search continues.

Related: Missing woman last seen in Newport News Sunday, July 17, believed to be in 'extreme danger,' Virginia State Police says

Shanitia Eure-Lewis was a big part of the community at Gethsemane Baptist Church. This was the last place family and friends saw her before her disappearance, leaving many questions unanswered.

"We miss her badly," said Dwight Riddick, pastor at Gethsemane Baptist Church.

Eure-Lewis's body still has not been found.

"We want to do everything we can to find her. Such a precious young lady and a precious life" said Riddick.

Police suspect Shanitia’s husband, Adrian Lewis, is behind the crime. He has been charged with first-degree murder. As the search continues, our News 3 reporter Kelsey Jones caught up with Chief Drew about their current search efforts.

"Right now what were still actively looking. We're still working with technology, we're working with individuals who have come forward," said Chief Drew.

Chief Drew could not share details with us about the technology being used but he says it's leading them closer to possible clues. He says they're searching concentrated areas in Hampton Roads. But wants to make it clear that he is not discouraging the public’s help.

"The locations that were getting, those are not locations that I would send citizens or groups to, those are locations that I would send forensic technicians, detectives and officers to respond to."

Eure-Lewis’ church family at Gethsemane continues to hold on to their faith, including the pastor Dwight Riddick. He says they're praying and know that she will be found.

"We want to do everything we can and will mobilize forces, you bet we will! And we know people that have already been out on their own looking. Everywhere we move throughout the community let me tell you her handprint has been throughout this entire community," said Riddick.

A mother of two, and devoted church member Riddick says they plan to keep her name alive.

"In addition to finding her is also taking care of her family, and our church is strategically making sure that her family is good," said Riddick.

According to Joe Slabinski, CEO of W.A.T.E.R. Team Inc., a volunteer search and rescue group, there will be a team searching for Shanitia Eure-Lewis Thursday and Friday.

The search will start at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday and is expected to be done around 1 p.m. The start time for Friday’s search will start around noon but the end time for Friday is still being discussed by W.A.T.E.R. Team Inc.

Slabinski told News 3 that the search group plans to search areas mainly around Gethsemane Baptist Church on Roanoke Avenue, the church Eure-Lewis and her family went to, with the entire area being an industrial area and many hidden spots.

As of Wednesday, July 20, 2022, Police said there were no updates as the search continued for Eure-Lewis, but Police Chief Steve Drew called the search efforts the current top priority for the department.

Related: Search continues for body of Newport News mom

Adrian Lewis, Eure-Lewis’ husband, was arrested and charged with first-degree murder of his wife. Lewis is currently behind bars with his next court date set for September 23.

Related: Husband of missing Newport News woman charged with first-degree murder of his estranged wife

Stay with News 3 for more updates.