$5,000 reward for missing Daly City waitress with chronic illness

The search intensified Wednesday for a 38-year-old Daly City woman who has missing since Saturday. 

Friends say Christa Mahoney has serious health problems, and may be at risk in San Francisco, where she was last seen. 

"It's heartbreaking to me to think that Christa is in a vulnerable position," said Paula Lykins, at the McLaren Park dog park where she and Mahoney struck up a friendship. "You never know what can happen when someone is not in their right mind."

Over the past few months, friends say Mahoney's weight has plunged to 90 pounds, as she struggles with the pain of chronic pancreatitis, and unstable mental health. 

When her beloved dog, Buddy, was found running loose in Union Square Saturday afternoon, Mahoney's friends became alarmed. 

"She has a beautiful home she adores, a community that's supportive and a dog that she just wouldnt walk away from," said Lykins. 

Friends have been caring for Buddy since Animal Control officers picked him up. 

About 11 a.m. Saturday, Mahoney can be seen on security video, stopping to eat at John's Grill near Union Square. At the time, Buddy is with her, on a leash, as they enter the restaurant. 

"Our staff says it looked like she was trying to meet someone, and she waited, and ate lunch, had a drink or two and took off after that, " John Konstin, Jr., of John's Grill told KTVU. 

There was nothing unusual in her demeanor, except that she couldn't pay her tab.

Another diner picked it up, and Mahoney left the eaterie without her backpack.  

"A couple of her credit cards got declined, and she ended up leaving a backpack behind and she took off," said Konstin.  

Later that afternoon,  Mahoney's cell phone and wallet were found on a Muni train on the Embarcadero line.  

Police are now viewing Muni surveillance video for clues.

"She left her property on the street, basically, and left her dog on the street, and we can't seem to find her," said Sgt Ron Harrison of the Daly City Police Dept. "We are concerned she might be vulnerable." 

Daly City officers have been walking the Tenderloin and downtown areas.  

"We're putting out flyers, trying to locate someone who has seen her recently," said  Harrison, "so we are out there every day with officers in San Francisco." 

When her health allowed, Mahoney worked as a waitress at Mission Rock Resort, south of Market.

She moved to the Bay Area from Georgia only a few years ago. 

"When she started to have this chronic illness, things really started to turn for her," observed Lykins, "and it's not like her, normally she's incredibly productive, joyful, a person with a lot of energy." 

Friends say lately Mahoney's energy was manic.

The combination of health issues plus a breakup with her girlfriend, had triggered erratic behavior,  especially with strangers.  

"I just want to reach out and let her know what we all care about her, " said Lykins, who is working with Mahoney's longtime friends in Georgia, on posters and social media. 

They feel that publicizing her disappearance is the only way to find her. 

"People care about other people and we've got to look out for each other," said Lykins, "and we need to continue to push to make sure she's okay."

Surveillance images from John's Grill show Mahoney wearing an orange shirt and baseball cap.
On Ellis Street, she is bundled up in a coat and scarf. 

Christa Mahoney is 5'2", thin, with brown hair and eyes. She speaks with an English accent, and may be delusional. 

John's Grill is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to her safe return, and urges tips to be called to Daly City Police.