Twenty-eight-year-old Jessica Stacks of the Harmony community still had not been found late Tuesday afternoon, Jan. 5, Sheriff Jimmy Edwards said. She was reported missing somewhere along the Tallahatchie River Friday, Jan. 1, in a case that has drawn considerable public interest.
The Union County Sheriff’s Department learned she was missing about 10 p.m. Friday and has conducted searches beginning that night and continuing intermittently since then.
“We’ve done all we could on land,” Sheriff Jimmy Edwards said Tuesday afternoon. “I’m going to meet with emergency management director Curt Clayton and we are going to concentrate on the river.”
“No developments have led anywhere else,” he added. “That’s all we can do.”
Stacks 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.
Edwards said about 50 volunteers searched on foot during the day over the weekend, also using boats, ATVs, thermal imaging drones and a Mississippi Highway Patrol helicopter. Some night search was done as well, sometimes in rain and near-freezing weather.
Searchers found footprints and some other evidence of where Stacks may have been, but high water prevented further tracking. 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.
The search continued on a scaled-down basis Monday and Tuesday, because fewer volunteers and officials from other areas were available.
“This is certainly difficult on the grandmother, on the family,” Edwards said. “But we can’t make something out of nothing.”
The sheriff did not want to refer to the search as a recovery effort yet.
“We’re going to try to stay hopeful,” he said, “ but after this many days it doesn’t look good.
He added they have conducted interviews concerning the search, but said, “We can’t do much with speculation.”
More on earlier search for Stacks: https://www.nemiss.news/missing-woman-update-search-with-thermal-imaging-drones-continues/
Jessica Stacks, missing, New Albany, Northeast Mississippi, search, Tallahatchie River, Union County