PLATTSMOUTH -- Authorities are treating the case of a missing 41-year-old Nebraska woman and her 10-year-old son as a kidnapping, but they say there's no evidence of a crime.

Charlotte and Owen Schilling were last seen in the Plattsmouth area Thursday morning, when she checked her son out of elementary school. Charlotte's husband, Carl Schilling, and other family members have not heard from them since, according to the Plattsmouth Police Department.

Schilling's Chevrolet Malibu was found Friday near Lake Manawa south of Council Bluffs, Iowa. In the car, which has been impounded, they found her wallet and cellphone, its battery dead.

Police said Charlotte Schilling was spotted at a Kohl's department store in Council Bluffs on Thursday before picking up Owen from school. The two were seen later in a convenience store in the Lake Manawa area, where Charlotte Schilling bought snacks, cigarettes and other items.

During a press conference Monday afternoon, Plattsmouth police Chief Steve Rathman said 60 to 70 law enforcement representatives were working on the case.

Members of the FBI, the Council Bluffs Police Department, Cass County Sheriff’s Office and Bellevue Police Department have joined Plattsmouth police in the investigation.

Investigators say they're proceeding as if the boy was kidnapped, but they don't think anyone is in danger and the mother doesn't face any charges.

“We want to err on the side of caution,” Rathman said. “We don’t know exactly what is going on. We’re doing the investigation the same way as when any 10-year-old is missing.”

Police scoured the area around Lake Manawa on foot and used sonar equipment to search the water, but found nothing, he said.

Motivations for Charlotte Schilling's disappearance have not been determined, Rathman said.

“Why she left is not our top priority,” he said. “Our top priority is keeping them safe.”

Anyone with information is asked to call Plattsmouth Police at 402-296-3311.

Patti Jo Peterson of the Plattsmouth Journal contributed to this report.


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