ACKERMAN • The Ackerman Police Department has reprimanded a police officer for an offensive social media post about a mentally ill man missing since August.
Ackerman Police Chief Tim Cook said Officer Amanda Vance was reprimanded for using abusive language regarding 27-year-old Travis Sean Hunt, whose whereabouts remain unknown.
The offending post refers to allegations that the search for Hunt has been put off too long, saying, “Nobody has put anything off!! I’m sick of hearing that!!” She ended the post saying, “Stop acting like no one has looked for his crazy drug-headed self!”
According to Grace Fisher, spokeswoman for the Mississippi Department of Corrections, Hunt served time at an MDOC facility in 2018 for resisting arrest and attempted jail escape but no drug charges were evident in his records.
Cook said that Vance, on the force since 2016, has had an official reprimand go in her file for her personal Facebook post on Jan. 13. Cook said he had a meeting with Mayor Tim Cutts about it and then met with Vance as well.
Cook said Vance is now aware of how hurtful her words were. “She said she knows she shouldn’t have done that,” Cook said.
Meanwhile, the Choctaw County Sheriff’s Department is preparing to do another search for Hunt.
Choctaw County Chief Deputy Justin Livingston said that the new sheriff, Brandon Busby, is working on securing property owners’ permission for a dog search, including a cadaver dog team from Mississippi Bureau of Investigation, around the area where Hunt disappeared. One search was conducted after his disappearance but was called off due to heat exhaustion of the dogs as well as lack of permissions for a full search, Livingston said.
“One guy didn’t want us to search at all,” Livingston said.
Kim Haynes, Hunt’s mother, would not comment on Vance’s social media post. She said she is aware that the sheriff’s office has spoken to the FBI about Hunt’s case and that preparations were underway to get search warrants for property surrounding Concord-Bethsalem Road, where her son disappeared. “I hope he’s okay somewhere, but if not, I hope they find him this way,” Haynes said.
Hunt’s mental illness led to three commitments to East Mississippi State Hospital – in December 2018 and January and May last year. He Is diagnosed with bipolar disorder with mania and psychotic features and prescribed lithium for the bipolar disorder and the anti-pschotic medication Zyprexa.
Haynes told the Mississippi Center for Investigative Reporting in October that her son had gone off before to stay with friends “but he’s always called and let someone know where he was.” This time, he left his phone, his wallet and his medication at his grandmother’s house where he had been staying since his last inpatient stay at East Mississippi,
Hunt has dark curly hair and brown eyes. He has tattoos, including “Ole Miss” in puffy letters on his left shoulder and a cross necklace tattooed on his chest. Haynes said Sean, the youngest of her three sons, had last been seen walking down Concord-Bethsalem Road, in rural Choctaw County by a family member on Aug. 11 wearing blue jeans without shoes or a shirt on. His uncle, Warren Hunt, reported him missing to the sheriff’s office three days later.
To report information on Sean Hunt’s whereabouts, call the Choctaw County Sheriff’s Department at 662-285-6129.
This story was produced by the Mississippi Center for Investigative Reporting, a nonprofit news organization that seeks to inform, educate and empower Mississippians in their communities through the use of investigative journalism. Sign up for our newsletter.