OAKLAND, N.J. -- As concern increased for the safety of a missing shooting victim from Linden, friends of 31-year-old Meaghan McCallum of Oakland -- who vanished more than a year ago -- wonder whether it was just coincidence that both were last seen a half-mile apart.
McCallum and Tyrita Julius, 41, are of similar height and weight, they note. Both left things behind -- something their families said they would never do.
That hasn't conviced McCallum's mother, Heidi, however.
She said she doesn't have enough information to even attempt to connect the disappearances, which occurred almost a year to the day apart. The circumstances, as publicly described, are completely different, she noted.
Julius was last seen at the Long Branch train station on March 8. She was "supposed to board a train to go back home to Linden but never made it," police said.
Julius was shot in Linden last November. Whoever pulled the trigger "remains at large and has not been identified," city police said. A $10,000 reward to help find her was offered.
Surveillance video shows McCallum leaving a parking garage at a Long Branch apartment complex on March 11, 2015. That was the last anyone saw her.
Two weeks earlier, McCallum -- who had stopped taking her medication for bi-polar disorder -- visited her aunt in Long Branch, her mother said.
A prevailing investigative theory is that she took her own life by walking into the ocean at the Jersey Shore town just north of Asbury Park.
"She's made some very serious [suicide] attempts before and was in a very vulnerable state, but it's crazy to think somebody would go into the ocean," Heidi McCallum told Daily Voice. "There's no evidence that she did.
"They're still doing what they can do to try and locate Meg. She hasn't surfaced anywhere as far as her Social Security number or anything like that. There's been no sign of her whatesoever.
"She could be anywhere in this country," McCallum added. "She could be on a farm somewhere in New York State. She could be homeless in Seattle."
Authorities are continuing to investigate. Meanwhile, family members and friends are trying to keep Meaghan's story in the public eye -- hoping that someone who's seen her or knows something about her disappearance contacts them.
"We're going to keep posting and reposting," her mother said. "That's what we can keep doing."
If you see her, or know where to find Meaghan Elizabeth “Meg” McCallum, please dial 911 immediately — or call the Oakland PD: (201) 337-6171.
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.