PART ONE OF A SERIES BY JAY ALLEN
According to the National Missing and Unidentified Persons (NamUS) database, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Justice, more than 600,000 persons of all ages go missing every year, and approximately 4,400 unidentified bodies are recovered every year.
The vast majority of missing persons cases are resolved relatively quickly. For example, in 2012, there were 661,000 missing persons cases reported; more than 659,000 of them were resolved within a year. Still, more than 17,000 missing person cases and 13,000 unidentified body cases remain open in the United States as of today.
So why the national attention and headlines over a case like Gabby Petito, with little mention of the rest?
We have local young ladies, like Jessica Stacks, who checks all the same boxes as Ms. Petito: white, young, attractive, and disappeared under suspicious circumstances with her boyfriend at the time, and has been missing for almost a year.
Yet where is the national news?
Stacks was said to have gotten into a boat on the flooded Tallahatchie River with Jerry Wayne Baggett, age 45, early that morning.
According to Baggett, he and Stacks had been floating downstream only a short while when Stacks said she wanted to get out of the boat and walk (In January) out of the river bottom to Highway 30. Baggett said he let Stacks out of the boat on the right (north) bank of the river.
The river bottom was flooded at the time, and Stacks would have had to wade through flood waters to get to Highway 30.
Baggett said after letting Stacks out of the boat, he went on downstream some distance and got out of the river on the left bank, and although Baggett said Stacks got out of the boat sometime Friday morning, it was 10:15 p.m. that night before she was reported missing.
Over the next few weeks, or months (However long it takes) I, and Delta Radio, will get to the bottom of not just this case, but also why some cases seem to be more important than others when it comes to media coverage.
Contact Jay Allen at [email protected]
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