The last time Leigh Holbrooks saw her second cousin Raine was at a family dinner on January 1, 2020. At that time, Emaleigh Dillard, known to her friends as Raine, was living with her father and was working at Bryson’s in Highlands. Described by most who knew her as shy and quiet, Raine loved anime and video games and cats and kept to herself.
In the Fall of 2022, Raine’s mother fell sick so Leigh tried to reach Raine to let her know… that is when she realized Raine had disappeared.
“I filed the missing persons’ report after I tried locating her to inform her that her mother was hospitalized and not doing well,” said Leigh. “I could not locate her and got concerned.”
An investigation was opened in late 2022 while Sheriff Robert Holland was still in office. He said he recalled the case and that investigators struggled to identify any family or friends in the area aside from the initial missing person report. Investigators interviewed what few family members and friends they could, but each time what they found was the same… Raine was quiet and kept to herself and no one had heard from her recently, but that wasn’t odd or raised any flags. Even for her cousin Leigh, nearly three years passed from the last time she saw Raine and the fact that she hadn’t spoken to her wasn’t odd… it was only odd that she couldn’t contact her when she attempted to.
“She has a FB page but rarely posted,” said Leigh. “I was told by a friend that she had an Alia’s FB page in high school that her parents couldn’t see. She was more active on video gaming sites from what I’ve been told.”
Leigh said that when she saw Raine over the holidays she was living on Houston Gap Rd and working in Highlands, however recently she learned through social media that Raine had moved out of her dad’s home and was living with a friend and may have gotten a different job in the Franklin area.
Friends on social media have shared various versions or stories regarding Raine and her whereabouts leading up to her disappearance. According to Avery Shirley, she and Raine were roommates just prior to her disappearance. While Avery told WLOS that she and Raine had been having arguments leading up to her disappearance about Raine leaving their home for several days at a time without explanation, she didn’t provide any information to provide insight into when or why or even if Raine had moved out prior to the disappearance. It remains unknown where Raine was living at the time she went missing.
Law enforcement officers did make contact with her dad after the missing person report was filed with the Sheriff’s Office and he assured them he had been in contact with her recently and she was fine. However, shortly after law enforcement interviewed Raine’s father, he moved out of state.
According to Leigh, Raine who graduated from Franklin High School, had struggled with her relationships with her parents since 2019 when her mother suffered a stroke.
“The cognitive and physical disabilities from the stroke were difficult for Raine to deal with and she moved out to live with her dad,” said Leigh.
Raine cut ties with her mother and the two didn’t have a relationship, however her mother tried to keep up with her through Raine’s father. While he provided the family with information about Raine, the family doubts the validity of what they have been told.
Other than her father who recently moved out of state, Leigh said Raine doesn’t have any family or friends outside of the area, making it impossible for law enforcement to have any leads to follow up on outside of Macon County.
Sheriff Brent Hollbrooks has since taken the reigns of the Sheriff’s Office and said that he is familiar with Raine’s case and while the case remains open, there have been no leads.
Leigh said that while social media has recently brought attention to Raine’s case, it has also been a source of misinformation and speculation.
“I feel like there is a lot of misinformation that is being shared on social media,” said Leigh. “We just want to know that she is safe and ok. That is all we have ever wanted.”
Raine’s 22nd birthday is July 20 and for her friends and family, hearing from her and knowing she is safe would be the best way to celebrate.