CULLMAN, Ala. (WIAT) — Although police believe the woman known as “Lilliam Max” is not missing but had “left of her own free will,” one of her friends believes she would not have taken off unless something was seriously wrong.

Max was reported missing May 7 after friends reportedly had not seen her for over a week. On Wednesday, the Cullman Police Department released a statement indicating that based on their own investigation, Max was not missing, but had left town without anyone knowing where she went. The department also believes that “Lilliam Max” is not her real name.

However, one woman claimed to be Max’s friend has another story. Amber White said she met Max five years ago when they worked across the street from each other. White was employed at Covington Credit, a loan agency, when she met Max, who was just starting her salon business.

Though White no longer lives in Cullman, she said she had kept up with Max through Facebook and was shocked when she realized no one had been able to contact her, as Max is well-known in the community, according to White.

“For her to just up and walk away is extremely out of character,” White said. “I just don’t believe it. She is big in the community. When school came around, she gave students free haircuts. She is well-known and loved by so many.”

White said she and her family were customers of Max’s, and her son was especially fond of Max.

“She’s the only one he would allow to touch his hair,” White said.

White said Max even applied for a loan at Covington Credit while she was working there, and the documents she used for the loan led White to believe she is not an illegal citizen, as police suspect.

“She had a loan with me; in order for her to get a loan she had to be approved,” White said. “I had to have documentation, like a green card, so it doesn’t make sense to me. I saw those documents. Unless she forged her entire five years, I don’t know how that would work.”

Police did receive reports that Max may have been struggling financially, though White did not comment on this aspect of the investigation. On March 30, Max posted on Facebook about possible financial troubles.

No matter what police or friends suspect, Max’s disappearance is still being treated as a missing person case, according to Lt. Jody Martin of the Cullman Police Department.

“Her information will remain entered as a missing person until she is located and welfare checked,” Martin said.