Search continues for missing Maine woman, child 

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Jill Sidebotham and her daughter, Lydia Hansen, 2, were reported missing July 2 by Jill’s family. Photo via Sanford Maine PD.

SANFORD, MAINE – The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children has joined the Sanford, Maine, police department in the search for a missing 2-year-old and her mother who have not been heard from since late June.

Jill Sidebotham, 28, and her daughter, Lydia Hansen, 2, were last known to be in the company of Nicholas Hansen, Lydia’s father and a former boyfriend of Sidebotham. Sidebotham’s parents reported the pair missing July 2 when they didn’t return from an impromptu camping trip with Hansen. 

The mother and child were expected home June 30. They live in Springvale, a village of Sanford with Ron and Cottie Sidebotham, Jill’s parents.

The trio was last seen on July 2 at a Mexico, Maine, Walmart, where they were caught on surveillance video. The Sanford Police Department Wednesday released stills from the Walmart video that show Sidebotham paying for groceries as Hansen stands next to her. Lydia is in the seat of the shopping cart.

The department on Monday released June 29 surveillance stills of the three at the camp store at Coos Canyon Campground, in Byron, Maine, which was their destination when they left Springvale. Hansen is carrying Lydia, with Sidebotham following. Another image shows Sidebotham holding Lydia in the store parking lot.

Sanford police said that there has been no activity on Sidebotham’s credit cards since she was reported missing. Her cellphone hasn’t been active since June 28, when she last talked to her family, and Hansen’s hasn’t been since June 29, police said.

Sanford police said Monday that they enlisted the help of the Maine Warden Service, which searched western Franklin and Oxford counties in a fixed-wing aircraft for the car the trio was last seen in, a Silver 2005 VW Jetta with a black rear bumper, Maine license plate 1563VJ. 

Above: Stills from surveillance video of Jill Sidebotham, Nicholas Hansen and Lydia Hansen at the Mexico, Maine, Walmart July 2. It was the last time the trio has been seen. Sidebotham’s parents, in Springvale, Maine, reporter he and Lydia missing July 2. (Photos courtesy Sanford Police Department)

Sidebotham and Lydia left with Hansen after he showed up at their home unexpectedly on June 27 and asked Jill to go on the camping trip, Ron Sidebotham told The Boston Globe. He said that Cottie, Sidebotham’s mother, tried to persuade her not to go, but Jill said it would be fine.

The trio two days later were seen on the surveillance video at Coos Canyon Campground, more than 100 miles north of Springvale, in western Maine, on Route 17 about halfway between Rumford and Rangeley. The Walmart where they were last seen is just south of Rumford on Route 17. The campground is about 30 miles east of the New Hampshire border.

Hansen is from Phillips, which is in the same area.

Above: Stills from surveillance video of Jill Sidebotham, Nicholas Hansen and Lydia Hansen at Coos Canyon Campground in Byron, Maine, on June 29. (Photos courtesy Sanford Police Department)

Jill was expected home June 30, and her 10-year-old son was to spend Fourth of July weekend with her. When she hadn’t returned by Friday, July 2, and her family hadn’t been able to reach her for days, her parents reported Jill and Lydia missing to the Sanford Police Department.

The Sanford Police Department posted on Facebook, on July 3, they were seeking Jill, Lydia and Hansen. In a July 8 update, the department said that would like to find the trio to “check their wellbeing,” and “have no indication the family is in danger.” Sanford Police Lt. Matt Gagne said that the family’s concerns, though, prompted the department’s quick response.

Gagne told New England Cable News Wednesday that family and friends are certain Sidebotham would have been in touch by now if she could be. “The whole situation is really unusual,” he said.

But he also said that since there’s no indication of foul play, and police aren’t assuming Sidebotham and Lydia are in danger. He pointed out that there are many spots in the western Maine mountains, where ethe pair was camping, where cell service isn’t good.

Image/Sanford Maine Police

‘VERY VERY concerned’

But family members and friends, who began raising the alarm shortly after Sidebotham and Lydia didn’t return home, say there’s reason to be concerned.

“We are all VERY VERY concerned right now,” Bryanna Severance, who is married to the father of Sidebotham’s son, posted on Facebook July 3. “She wouldn’t take off like this and stay radio silent for so long.”

Severance posted that, if nothing else, Sidebotham would not be out of touch with her son, particularly since he was staying with her that weekend.

Corey Alexander, who has been dating Sidebotham for about three years, told The Boston Globe last Friday that the pair had plans for the holiday weekend.

“We were going to do stuff with the kids for the Fourth, and we were just going to have a nice, long weekend together,” he said. “And then Friday came around, and I realized she wasn’t answering me. I knew something was wrong, something in my gut was just telling me that this isn’t right.”

He said that Sidebotham always responds to text and voicemails.

He also said she’s devoted to both of her kids.  “She’s a protector to the end,” he said.

Severance, in her Facebook post, said that Hansen “isn’t a stable person,” something Hansen’s family also has told several news outlets.

Severance cautioned anyone who see the trio to be cautious of Hansen. “He is not okay and has been violent before, especially when he thought someone was taking Jill away,” she wrote.

Kelly Hansen, Hansen’s sister, told WCSH-TV in Portland  that he recently lost parental rights to two of his other children, and quit his job in June.

“Nick was broken, and he never got the proper help with that. It broke him, but it would break anybody,” she said. “This isn’t Nick, and it kills me to know that he’s changed. And my niece, god forbid, is suffering because of this.”

Another sister, Kris Martin, told The Boston Globe she hadn’t heard from her brother in about three years, even last year when their eldest brother died of a drug overdose. She said when she heard the three hadn’t returned when expected, she was concerned, a feeling that’s grown in the weeks since.

“I’m kind of losing hope that they’re going to find them,” she said. “I wish somebody would say something. Somebody’s got to know something.”

Sanford police ask that anyone who sees the three call their local police department, for a faster response than what Sanford would be able to do. National Center for Missing and Exploited Children advises anyone who sees them or knows anything about their whereabouts to call 911 or the center at 1-800-843-5678.

Lydia is 3 feet all and weighs 30 pounds. She has blonde hair and blue eyes.

Sidebotham Is 5-foot-3 with brown hair and blue eyes. She has a large tattoo on her upper thigh and multiple face piercings.

Hansen is 5-foot-10 and weighs 135 pounds. He has brown hair and brown eyes.


About this Author

Maureen Milliken

Maureen Milliken is a contract reporter and content producer for consumer financial agencies. She has worked for northern New England publications, including the New Hampshire Union Leader, for 25 years, and most recently at Mainebiz in Portland, Maine. She can be found on LinkedIn and Twitter.