Thursday, July 10, 2014

The Abandoned Vehicle with Two Flat Tires

Reading back through police reports can be interesting and startling with comparisons.  The vehicle my son was driving was actually mine, or the one I had driven most of the time.  We had a Ford Explorer  family car, but this one was the small one to run grocery errands and as a second vehicle.

The vehicle seems to have been the beginning of our son's problems when he telephoned his father in distress, saying, he "had a flat tire."

Several reports in Georgia detail the vehicle, when it was found, who found it and even helicopter searches were performed looking for its driver.  Plans for coordinating investigation after impound were  discussed in reports.

Although the reports indicate the vehicle was found on 12/12/1998, the father told Baldwin County police officers he had gone and found the vehicle the day after his son called in distress, which would have been 12/9/1998 - the day of the reported suicide.  (See records below.)

On 12/9/1998, description of the vehicle is given to Cobb County, Georgia police by the father.

..... and father stated he'd spoken with his son at 10:30 p.m. the night before and his son said he was stranded in the vehicle somewhere between Atlanta and Macon, Georgia.

*...stated that he drove south on I-75 checking for his sons vehicle but was unable to locate this date.*

Father continued to say his son mentioned exit eleven on the interstate, which is near Florida

Father also said he called and checked with several municipalities and police departments checking for above vehicle but was unable to locate it.

On the morning of 12/11/1998 Investigator D.E. Thomas of Cobb County, Ga. wrote about a conversation he had with the missing boy's father, "He said Gerald said he had a flat tire.  He said Gerald should have a spare, he has two spares and at least one should be with him."

By 3:32 p.m. Thomas had the location of the pay phone call in Coweta County from a Bell South/records subpoena and Thomas contacted the Newnan Police who said the call location was in   Coweta County.  The County sheriff's office responded they would check that area and contact Cobb County.

D.E.  Thomas then learned four days later, on 12/15/1998, that the car had been found abandoned in Coweta County and then at 8:49 spoke with the missing person's father who said he still had not heard from his son.

On 12/12/1998, Detective P.J. Coalson was contacted by Detective B.B. Gordon. The car had been recovered in Coweta County. Gordon provided a case number.  Coalson told Gordon to tell Coweta County to impound the vehicle.  Coalson was told by Gordon that Investigator John Lewis would be investigating that case since the missing person was last in Coweta County.

The vehicle was located on Interstate highway I-85 near exit 9. Detective Coalson was told to contact Sergeant Fisher of the Coweta County sheriff's department.  It would be determined on Monday whether Cobb or Coweta County was to process the vehicle.

On 12/12/1998 Cobb County's Detective P.J. Coalson sent Lt. Banks an email to contact Investigator Lewis on 12/14/1998 in reference to the missing vehicle. Banks was provided with the details.

On 12/12/1998 at 5:51 p.m. the Nissan car was impounded by Deputy Donna Gordon. The vehicle was kept at Coweta Sheriff's office.

Both rear tires were flat but no foul play was suspected.

The GBI processed the vehicle and evidence was given to Investigator John Lewis of Coweta County on 12/16/1998 on which day a search was performed by helicopter, etc.

The clerk at the store where the phone call had originated said nobody reported being in need of assistance, and the clerk also said the father had given him a picture of his son to look for.

** On 12/21/1998, Huey A. Mack, Jr.  Baldwin County, Al., investigating officer wrote that the father said he had found the car along interstate on 12/9/1998, the day after he received the pay phone call from his troubled son.

This Alabama police report is the first time information is recorded that the father found the car on 12/9/1998

Baldwin County, Alabama's Corporal John Garner's report is different.

On 12/21/1998 he writes:

"Sniffen said that his son's car was later found on I-85 in Newnan Ga. but his son was not located."

Corporal John Garner referenced Coweta County, Georgia Investigator John Lewis and the search:

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