WALKER COUNTY, Ala. (WIAT) — This week marks five years since Maxine Bieberbach, a mother of two children, went missing in Walker County.
The 26-year-old woman was last seen walking into the woods in Empire, Alabama on March 6, 2018, and has not been seen or heard from since. Her sister, Zosia Rosenfeld, finds the disappearance unsettling.
”It’s really scary that somebody in 2023, that we can just say walked into the woods and was never seen again,” Rosenfeld said.
It has been an especially painful week for Rosenfeld and her family, as they both remember and grieve the five years they haven’t had with Maxine, or “Max” as her sister calls her.
”She is amazing. She’s one of those people who just light up the room when she walks in,” Rosenfeld said. “She’s funny and charismatic and you won’t find anyone who says they didn’t just love her.”
Rosenfeld said her sister was battling drug addiction at the time she went missing. She maintained sobriety after going through a program that then-Cordova Police Chief Nick Smith spearheaded called the Mercy Project. Smith celebrated the strides that Bieberbach had made through a Facebook post in 2017.
Rosenfeld was grateful for the help her sister was able to receive through the program.
”She was incarcerated and they started a program kind of like a rehab program and it was a faith-based program,” Rosenfeld said. “A pastor and his wife come in and do counseling.”
Smith is now the Sheriff of Walker County, the law enforcement agency overseeing Bieberbach’s disappearance. Their investigation has shown no progress over the years, according to Rosenfeld.
”For us, it’s hard because, oh well, she could have overdosed or she could have this or she could have…but we couldn’t find anything? I mean not a shoe, not her cell phone, nothing. There’s nothing,” she said.
Gone without a trace and leaving this family searching for answers, closure and how to make sense of it all.
”We have to tell her son one day that we did everything we could to find her,” Rosenfeld said. “I don’t believe that we are getting much help and we don’t know what to do, so, it’s tough.”
Attempts to reach the Walker County Sheriff’s Office for comment on the investigation were not successful.