At 7:00 pm Saturday evening Union County Sheriff Jimmy Edwards told NEMiss.News that a search was continuing through the night for a missing woman. Drones with thermal imaging cameras are being used to search for Jessica Stacks, who was reported missing in the Tallahatchie River bottom near Rocky Ford sometime Friday.
Stacks, 28, from the Harmony community, was first reported missing about 10 p.m. Friday after her companion, Jerry Wayne Baggett, was found downriver.
Sheriff Jimmy Edwards said the couple, described as being in a relationship, had gotten into a small boat without a motor, putting it into the Tallahatchie River at the bridge on County Road 46 south of Enterprise about daylight Friday morning.
Edwards said the two were apparently hunting. “You know, sometimes when the river is high people will get in boats and float down the river to catch deer or hogs and shoot them,” he said. “That’s what they were doing.”
Apparently, at one point about a mile or mile and a half past West Union, Stacks got out of the boat, saying she intended to walk out of the river bottom, according to what the sheriff was told.
“Baggett continued down the river at least a couple of miles before getting out on the opposite side of the river,” Edwards said. “He ended up calling his son and they said for him to stay where he was and they would come get him,” he said. “They told him to holler and yell and they would find him.”
When they found Baggett, it became apparent that Stacks was missing.
Although Stacks owned a cell phone, she did not have it with her. The sheriff said the plan had been to leave her phone with the person who helped them put the boat in. They took Baggett’s phone with them, in order to call her phone when they decided to get out of the river. That person would then come and get them.
“Yesterday, the water was out and it appears when she got out she was surrounded by water and maybe didn’t realize that was going to be the case,” the sheriff said. “Maybe she couldn’t cross, it was too deep. There is a very deep dragline ditch between there and road, and if it were filled with water you wouldn’t know how deep it was until you stepped in it.”
Stacks had a coat, which searchers found apparently discarded, but probably was not dressed warmly enough for the weather the past two nights.
The sheriff said they did find evidence of where she had been, items and footprints. However the water had made tracking impossible and was washing away prints as well.
Members of the Union County Sheriff’s Department, Union County Search and Rescue and Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks searched an area of several miles through late Friday night and all day Saturday, on foot, by boat and ATV.
“We tried to get a helicopter with special equipment, but they told us the ceiling was too low and a helicopter could not fly,” the sheriff said. “We think the weather will be better tomorrow and will try to get one again.”
A daylight search was scheduled for 8 a.m. Sunday with game and fish personnel, deputies and members of the county volunteer fire departments.
The operation is still described as a search and rescue effort.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the family, her mother and grandmother,” the sheriff said. “We are doing everything we can to find her.”missing person, MS Department of Wildlife Fisheries and Parks (WPF), New Albany MS, Tallahatchie River, Union County MS, Union County Search and Rescue