“We just aren’t getting answers” Family of Teutopolis woman missing after plane crash works through bureaucracy during search

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PANAMA (WCIA) — They’re losing hope on multiple fronts but trying to remember the good times: the family of a Teutopolis woman presumed dead after a plane crash off the coast of Panama continues to plead for outside help.

Sue Borries was a longtime school teacher in Teutopolis. She and her husband moved to Panama nearly a year ago. The woman’s son Brandon, along with other family members, are in Panama helping with the search for Borries’ body. Brandon recounted what authorities believe happened, saying Sue and her husband took a small plane to an island to celebrate the new year. On January 3, the husband took an early flight back to Panama, and Sue took a second flight. That flight had engine trouble, went down in the water, and sank. Three people were rescued, while Borries and another person were not found.

Brandon Borries told our newsroom that authorities in Panama don’t have the resources to do a thorough search. He said the family has reached out to the U.S Coast Guard and were told it could not get resources to Panama in time. Borries said pleas to the U.S. Department of Defense have gone unanswered.

“We need a third party involved. We just need the American government to get on board with that if they’re not going to help us,” Brandon Borries said. “We just want to be mourning and grieving as a family the way we should be instead of making a million phone calls.”

Brandon Borries speaks to WCIA from Panama via Zoom

Borries said the family has reached out to several state and federal lawmakers. He said Senator Dick Durbin’s office, in particular, has been responsive.

“Our staff has had a number of conversations with both [the State Department] and [the United States Southern Command], and are we urging for continued U.S. government assistance, both directly to the family as well as to help the Panamanian government, which requested assistance in locating the fuselage,” said Durbin spokesperson Erica Schroeder in a statement.

In the meantime, Brandon Borries said his family is trying to remember his mom’s “true lust for life.” Borries said since moving to Panama, the woman became involved at a church, teaching English at a school, and playing pickleball.

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