NEW ALBANY • Is Jessica Swenor Stacks dead or alive?
After a half-year, authorities still don’t know where Stacks could be, and her baffling disappearance has turned into the longest-running missing persons case in Union County Sheriff Jimmy Edwards’ memory, he said this week.
Edwards’ memory goes back a long way, too. He’s been sheriff since 2012, and has been involved with local law enforcement since 2000.
No charges have been filed in connection with the case; authorities have run down every lead they’ve had; and the case has turned cold, the sheriff said.
“It was publicized everywhere, and we followed up on an awful lot of stuff that later proved to be dead ends.”
Anyone with information about the case is asked to call the department.
Jessica Swenor Stacks, 28, was reported missing just after 10 p.m. Friday, Jan. 1, Stacks and a male companion launched a boat in the Tallahatchie River Friday morning, Jan. 1, at County Road 46.
The two apparently planned to float downstream in the little tin boat when the water was high. People often shoot wild hogs from the river; it’s unclear if that’s what she and her male companion planned to do.
Stacks later got out of the boat, and authorities were notified about 10 p.m. that night after she failed to turn up.
About 50 people were originally searching for her; the number later dwindled to about a dozen. The searchers include two game wardens from Itawamba County, members of the Union County Search and Rescue and the Union County Sheriff’s Department, as well as an MHP helicopter and a thermal imaging drone.
Authorities searched until around 3 a.m. Jan. 2 and then resumed the search the next morning and into the night. And on Sunday officials searched all day until dark.
The search area included an area from County Road 46 at the Tallahatchie River bridge to the Rocky Ford Bridge on Miss. Highway 30 West in Etta.
Searchers combing the area later located the boat about a mile upriver from the Rocky Ford Bridge. Her purse was in the boat, authorities said.
The sheriff declined to identify the man she was with.
Stacks left several footprints behind near the river; she hasn’t been seen since leaving the boat.
Her boots were later found; they had been cut off her. Her coat and gloves were found near her boots. She didn’t have her cell phone with her at the time she left the boat; it was later located and turned in, Edwards said.
Stacks’ three children are now being raised by a relative in Texas, the sheriff concluded.