NEW ALBANY, MISS. (WCBI) – The search continues for a 28-year-old New Albany woman, missing since New Year’s Day.
Jessica Nicole Stacks and her boyfriend, Jerry Wayne Baggett, launched a boat into the Tallahatchie River, on New Year’s Day, from this site, near a bridge on County Road 46. About two miles downstream, Baggett says Stacks got out of the boat, walking along the riverbank toward Highway 30. She has not been seen or heard from since.
“We’ve been working to try and find her, if she went into the water, it was very high water, we had to wait in some places until the water receded to get in,” said Union County Sheriff Jimmy Edwards.
Jessica’s phone was turned in by a man who says he had it because the couple was supposed to call him to pick them up when they finished their boating trip.
Sheriff Edwards says a coat was found that is believed to belong to Jessica. Foot tracks were also found in the area where she supposedly got out of the boat. Dive teams have been in the water, cadaver dogs, drones with thermal imaging equipment and a helicopter from MHP have also assisted in the search efforts.
The sheriff says the terrain is a big challenge.
“There’s creeks in it, huge deep ditches in it, we’ve gotten stuck ourselves, had to get ourselves winched out,” Sheriff Edwards said.
Sheriff Edwards says another challenge is dealing with the barrage of hearsay and accusations on social media that threaten to delay and hinder the investigation.
“We are spending hours going and talking to people, finding out, ‘what I said, I heard so and so say that’ and then they heard so and so say that, it just snowballs and gets bigger and more added to it and they say, ‘no I didn’t say that’ takes hours to chase all that down,” Edwards said.
Edwards says there is no sign of foul play, but he promises to continue to search and follow all credible leads.
Anyone with information on the case is asked to call the Union County Sheriff’s Department