A friend of the Hot Springs woman who disappeared this month said she was planning to go to Rapid City the day she vanished to pick up a motor home she was planning to buy.
Don Lytle of Hot Springs said he last saw 56-year-old Catherine Tornquist on Oct. 4 after they spent the day together sightseeing and visiting secondhand stores.
"On Wednesday morning, she was to go with her son (Matthew) to pick up a motor home in Rapid City at Midstates Camper," said Lytle, adding that her plans were to begin traveling south in the camper.
Tornquist was last seen between 6 a.m. and 7 a.m. on Oct. 5 in Hot Springs, according to the Fall River Sheriff's Office, which is investigating her disappearance.
Lytle said he last saw Tornquist when he waved goodbye to her at about 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 4 in the Sonny's Super Foods parking lot in Hot Springs. Lytle said the two often traveled out of town together. He said he reported her missing at 2:45 a.m. on Oct. 7 after her son called and said he didn't know where she was.
Lytle said he had called her numerous times on Oct. 5 to see how it was going with the camper, but she did not answer or return calls. On Oct. 6, he said he decided to go to her home in Hot Brook Canyon to see the new camper. Lytle said her car was there, but the camper - a 34-foot motor home - was not. He said he then went to Rapid City and spoke to someone at Midstates Camper who reported that Catherine Tornquist never showed up for her 1:30 p.m. appointment despite previously putting $1,000 down on the vehicle.
"Her family does have a history of anuerisms, so I thought something must have happened to her," Lytle said. "So I flew back to Hot Springs and got into her home but she wasn't there."
Lytle said Tornquist's disappearance has been hard on him as he has either seen or spoken to her on the phone every day for the past several years.
"Catherine is a very kind and caring person," said Lytle, adding that he was looking forward to celebrating her 56th birthday with her on Oct. 12.
"She's a very spiritual person who wouldn't even swat a fly. She would often capture bugs in her home and then go outside and release them," he said.
In addition to her son, Matthew of Hot Springs, Lytle said he has been in contact with Tornquist's daughter, Tina, who lives in Colorado.
Fall River County Sheriff Rich Mraz said his department continues to look for the missing woman.
"We have done many searches," he said late last week. "We have been following all leads that have come in so far."
Mraz declined to say if foul play is suspected.
Mraz said that he cannot release any information on the ongoing investigation, which includes his office, as well as the Division of Criminal Investigation, along with the Custer and Shannon county sheriff's offices. Anyone with information can contact the Fall River County Sheriff's Office at 745-4444.