Missing truck driver returns home


* Fulton’s Danny Wilson had been missing for more than two weeks

Officials with the Itawamba County Sheriff’s Department say they have located a Fulton truck driver who had been missing since mid-March, though the details surrounding his disappearance are still hazy.

On Friday, an anonymous tipster reported to authorities that Danny Wilson, 46, a driver with Cooley Trucking, was at home with his family. Officials with the Itawamba County Sheriff’s Department verified the tip and said Wilson seemed to be unharmed.

“The family was ecstatic,” said Sgt. Dina Johnson with the Itawamba County Sheriff’s Department. Although Wilson’s disappearance was mostly being handled by officials in Texas, Johnson was in charge of the investigation on the local level.

She said she was, frankly, somewhat surprised by the happy ending. The circumstances surrounding Wilson’s sudden disappearance suggested the possibility that Wilson might not be found alive.

“The outcome could have been so much worse,” she said. “We’re just glad he’s been located and is safe and sound.”

Wilson left Fulton on March 17 with a destination of Weatherford, Texas, but never made it. Members of Wilson’s family filed a missing persons report with the Itawamba County Sheriff’s Department soon thereafter. On March 20, tracking coordinates of Wilson’s rig were used to locate the truck at a Whataburger Restaurant in Hutchins, Texas. The truck’s wheels and tires had been removed, but most of the contents of the truck seemed to be in place, including the insulin Wilson takes for his diabetes. Wilson was nowhere to be found. Officials say Wilson's fuel card was used several times on March 18, but not thereafter.

Wilson's name was quickly listed with the National Crime Information Center, a national database of information on missing persons and other information law enforcement can use.

Details as to what precisely happened to Wilson in Texas are still sketchy. According to Sgt. Johnson, Wilson claimed to have been assaulted while stopped in Texas. He allegedly escaped his attackers, then spent the next two weeks hitchhiking his way back to Itawamba County.

If Wilson contacted his family or employers at all during that span, Johnson said it wasn’t reported to authorities. A March 21 post by Wilson’s cousin, Curtis Reeves, on the American Bull Hauler Association’s Facebook page, which received more than 23,000 shares, shows that people were still posting fliers and spreading word of Wilson’s disappearance up until last Friday, suggesting that Wilson hadn’t been in contact with his family up until that point.

Johnson said there are definitely questions surrounding Wilson’s disappearance that haven’t been answered.

“There’s a lot of gray area here,” she said, adding that any followup investigation will likely be spearheaded by authorities in Texas.

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