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'We just want answers': Family of missing local couple searches for leads in disappearance

The search for Forrest Sanco and Donna Grant continues as friends and family members learn more about their honeymoon trip to the Bahamas on Sept. 25.

LeeAnn Burger, Forrest Sanco’s 23-year-old niece, said the pair initially planned to get married and honeymoon on the island of Rum Cay. She said the pair took off in Florida on Sept. 25 in a single-engine 1966 Cessna — piloted by Sanco — but never arrived at their intended destination. 

Burger recently set up a GoFundMe page to raise money to pay the private search teams. And now, as local authorities search for the couple, Burger said she and other family members just want to know what happened. 

"We are super hopeful, but we are realistic as well," Burger said. "We just want answers. Whatever we find is OK at this point. We would just like to find something so we can take whatever the next step is."

Bahamas Air and Sea Rescue Association (BASRA) Operations Manager Chris Lloyd told The Tribune, a Bahamian newspaper based in Nassau, the nonprofit agency is investigating the couple's whereabouts. 

The agency confirmed to the paper the couple's last recorded activity was at 4:48 p.m. Sept. 26, when Sanco closed his flight plan, Lloyd said. 

"At 4:58 p.m., we know that he closed his flight plan, which gives us the understanding that he was near Rum Cay and in a position to say his flight was a success up to that point," he told the paper. 

He told The Tribune the U.S. Embassy in the Bahamas made BASRA aware of the situation on Friday.

Greg Lambert, who manages a property the couple rented on Rum Cay, said he spoke to Sanco extensively about the trip for about three months.

He said they set off to Freeport, on the island of Grand Bahama, on Sept. 25 and stayed overnight. He never heard back from them after that, but he eventually was able to confirm they stopped for fuel on the island of Eleuthera, he said.

"I think he had just been through a refresher course with an instructor to get his biannual flight review," Lambert said. "At that point, with everything we go through to become a pilot, you pretty much trust the pilot in command."

When Lambert didn't hear from Sanco for several days, he tried to plot out their course with the help of local authorities and residents. He said the pair initially flew from Texas to Fort Pierce, Florida, where Sanco had about $160 in repairs done to the small 1966 Cessna.

"It was a small airplane with limited fuel capacity and, therefore, limited range," he said. 

Burger said Sanco moved from his Argyle home more than a year ago. She said he's been staying in a commercial property he owns in White Settlement at 400 N. Cherry Lane, where he was known to work on cars and trucks, she said. 

He is employed at Lockheed Martin's Fort Worth office, company spokesman Ken Ross said Monday. 

Donna Grant is originally from Tahlequah, Oklahoma, according to her sister-in-law Erin Simmons.  She said Grant worked as a nurse's aide at Cherokee Elder Care before moving to Fort Worth in September. 

Burger and Simmons said family members have not been able to confirm whether Grant and Sanco got married before they set off for the islands. Burger said she created the GoFundMe page assuming the couple had already wed, but so far, that information is unclear, she said. 

Sanco and Grant applied for a marriage license in Tarrant County on Aug. 25, but there is no record of a ceremony, according to Tarrant County marriage records. 

"Nobody is really sure, to be honest with you," Burger said. 

JULIAN GILL can be reached at 940-566-6882.