Woman still missing with no new clues after nearly week’s search

The Little Tallahatchie River drains into Sardis Lake, above, near Graham.
January 7th, 2021     Featured General News

Sheriff Jimmy Edwards reported still no success Thursday after another full day’s search for Jessica Stacks, reported missing almost a week ago.

The Union County Sheriff’s Department learned she was missing about 10 p.m. Friday, Jan. 1, and has conducted searches beginning that night and continuing daily since then.

Stacks, 28, of the Harmony community, and companion Jerry Wayne Baggett were said to be floating down the river in a boat without a motor. They were said to have put the boat into the water from County Road 46 early Friday. Baggett told the sheriff that Stacks got out of the boat with the intention of walking out of the river bottom. Much of the river bottom was flooded when Stacks is said to have left the boat. It was reported that Baggett continued down the river and was picked up later.

Officers from various agencies along with some volunteers have put in hundreds of hours searching for Stacks every day, at times using high-tech mapping and surveillance equipment to make sure all areas were covered.

Specially-equipped drones and even a Mississippi Highway Safety Patrol search helicopter were brought in and some night searches were performed, at times in rain and near-freezing weather. Although they found evidence of where Stacks got out of the river, there was no sign of her on land.

Edwards said they have also conducted several water searches and they tried using a diver. “The water was just too cold for a diver,” he said. Edwards they have searched as far as Graham, near the headwaters of Sardis Lake.

“I rode it myself yesterday from Graham down to Rocky Ford and back, but didn’t see anything,” he said.

The river bottom area is rough terrain, cut up with serpentine natural ditches, filled with brush. There are also deep man-made ditches dug to drain water from crop fields.

“We’re going to try to stay hopeful,” he said Tuesday, “ but after this many days it doesn’t look good.

The incident has drawn a great deal of social media speculation, but Edwards said they had no evidence to contradict what they were told and could not act on speculation.

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