SEATTLE -- It's now been six weeks since a mushroom hunter from Seattle disappeared during an outing in Chelan County. On Monday, Hildegard Hendrickson's family members spoke out for the first time since she went missing.
The 79-year-old is an experienced mushroom hunter, not afraid of going into the woods by herself, but she was always careful.
She was last seen on June 8th, while picking mushrooms in Chelan County. Her car was discovered unlocked at the top of the trailhead.
"Part of the mystery about this is that given the terrain where she was last seen, that she would stay too much further off the trail just doesn't make any sense," said her son, Joe Hendrickson.
On Monday evening, he and his brother were among dozens who attended a service at Seattle University held in honor of Hildegard.
Organizers say it wasn't meant to be a funeral or a chance to say goodbye. Instead, it's a chance for her friends and former co-workers to surround her family in love and support.
Hildegard taught at Seattle University for almost 30 years.
"When you met her, you knew you were in the presence of someone significant," said Revered Peter Ely, the school's Vice President for Mission & Ministry.
Her son also spoke at Monday's service, telling the crowd he's finally found an answer to the questions he's gotten from so many over the last few weeks, asking how they can help or what they can do for the family.
"I have come to believe the answer is live like Hildegard," he said. "I truly believe if we all lived like her, this community and our world will be a better place."
If anyone can survive six weeks alone in the woods, he says his mother can. Still, the family and authorities have not yet ruled out foul play.
Hendrickson thanked the Chelan County Sheriff's Office for all their hard work and the hours spent searching for his mother.
He also asks that anyone with information that could help their search for answers contacts the Chelan County Sheriff's Office.
"The family is living day to day because we don't know, and that's the one thing we desperately want to understand is what happened," he said.