Search for Jessica Stacks, missing four weeks, actively continues

Union County Sheriff Jimmy Edwards NEMiss.News


Jessica Stacks was reported missing from the Tallahatchie River bottom four weeks ago today. Despite having no new information, Union County Sheriff Jimmy Edwards is still leading an active search.

“There’s no update, nothing new,” Sheriff Edwards said Thursday.

The search for Stacks continues

The search continues, however.

Edwards said he had two boats in the river searching this past Tuesday and used a side-by-side ATV Wednesday.

Despite criticism to the contrary, mostly on social media, the sheriff said his department has followed up on each lead, no matter how unlikely.

The number of leads has essentially dwindled in the past week or so. “We haven’t had any new ones,” he said.

Edwards gave no indication he planned to stop searching. Although missing person cases usually remain open indefinitely, he cannot allocate resources to the search forever. Based on what he was told, Stacks was missing from a relatively limited area, and it can only be scoured so many times.

What are the odds?

The longer the search goes on, the less likely it is that the missing woman will be found.

According to NamUs (National Missing and Unidentified Persons System), more than 600,000 persons go missing in the United States every year. NamUs is funded by the Department of Justice and other agencies.

Data shows that between 89 percent to 92 percent of those missing people are recovered each year, either alive or deceased. According to the agency, they are often recovered in a few days.

It’s been 28 days since 28-year-old Stacks was reported missing from the Tallahatchie River bottom. Despite a massive search, her location remains a mystery.

What is known about Stacks’ disappearance?

Stacks, 28, of the Harmony community, and companion Jerry Wayne Baggett were said to be floating down the river from County Road 46 near the Enterprise community in a boat without a motor.

They were said to be looking for wild game stranded along the river.

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. Stacks never appeared.

The sheriff’s department was not informed that Stacks was missing until 10:15 New Year’s night. Rescue efforts began immediately.

Despite use of searchers on foot, dive teams, search dogs, aerial searches and advanced technology – continuously over 14 days – Stacks has not been found. Only evidence of where she apparently got out of the boat was located.

“As heartbreaking as it is, without some new development there’s not much we can do,” Edwards said a week ago. “I’ve exhausted every resource that I have, but that doesn’t mean we are giving up. I just don’t know any more resources that haven’t been utilized.”

“She’s still at the very forefront of our minds. Hopefully, something will break soon. I hope and pray we get a break,” he said.