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Authorities renew calls for help finding missing mother and son

Sophia Van Dam (left) and her 2-year-old son Matteo (right) of Sumter disappeared in June. They used to live in Beaufort.

Multiple law enforcement agencies are once again asking for help finding a missing Sumter mother and her 2 year-old son. Sophia and Matteo Van Dam disappeared from their home in June.

Authorities and their family hope a milestone birthday for Sophia, who will turn 21 years-old this Saturday, will prompt someone to come forward with information.

“We love her (Sophia) and Matteo very much and we’re waiting to celebrate her birthday in style when she comes home,” mother, Theresa Van Dam said in a press release.

Police say the pair was last heard from four months ago on June 24th. Sophia’s car was found next to her Sumter home. They used to live in Beaufort.

Sophia’s mother describes her daughter, the youngest of five, as a leader who makes people laugh. Her grandson, she says, is full of energy and loves to be outside.

“He just always had s spark in his eye,” Theresa Van Dam said.

She says she misses watching him grow.

“There’s an empty hole there.”

Sumter police are joined in their calls for help by the Beaufort County Sheriff’s office, SLED and the FBI. Anyone with information is urged to call Crime Stoppers at 1-888-CRIME-SC. They can do so anonymously. Tips may also be submitted online to SLED at tips@sled.sc.gov.




Victoria Hansen is our Lowcountry connection covering the Charleston community, a city she knows well. She grew up in newspaper newsrooms and has worked as a broadcast journalist for more than 20 years. Her first reporting job brought her to Charleston where she covered local and national stories like the Susan Smith murder trial and the arrival of the Citadel’s first female cadet.