As family copes, search for Jacque Waller grows

Wednesday, July 13, 2011
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Jacque Sue Waller's family returned to court Tuesday in Cape Girardeau, where a judge continued to deny visitation rights to the father of Waller's children. Cheryl Brenneke, Waller's sister, said she and her husband still have temporary custody of the Jacque Waller's three 5-year-olds. Clay Waller, her estranged husband and person of interest in her disappearance, has no visitation rights. They'll all return for another hearing Oct. 19.

Brenneke said the judge and Missouri Division of Family Services ordered that Clay Waller receive a mental evaluation and that the family report to DFS on how the three children are doing.

Meanwhile, Jackson police continue to search for Waller, who was last seen June 1 near Woodland Drive and North Neal Street. Clay Waller was the last to see her when she came to his home to pick up their son and drive back to Ste. Genevieve, Mo., where she'd been staying since the couple's separation weeks earlier. They fought, he told police, and she left on foot.

Her vehicle, a blue Honda Pilot, was found on Interstate 55 with a flat tire. Authorities suspect foul play in Waller's disappearance, but have said there's not evidence to establish that a crime was committed. No one has reported seeing Waller in the area, although more than 250 people, including co-workers and friends, have participated in six searches since June 26 -- most of them in Cape Girardeau County -- to help find her.

Waller's brother and sister-in-law, Rob and Nancy Rawson, organized a search Sunday in Ste. Genevieve.

"You can't help it. When you look at her picture, Jacque is the all-American girl. She's the girl next door, and that bright beautiful smile, it speaks to you," said Laura Helbig, a volunteer search party member and a friend of Waller's family. "We all want to help because she could be anybody's sister, daughter or mom. If it could happen to someone like Jacque, who seemed to have it all, then we are all vulnerable."

Another volunteer searcher, Tracy Ford, said she is in constant contact with law enforcement about any leads are discovered by the group or that are brought to their attention.

However, no leads have amounted to finding Waller, or evidence that could lead to Waller. Police had no new information on the case Tuesday.

Ford organized a search last week in Cape Girardeau County and announced the event only 24 hours before its start. Ford said she had at least 30 people show up at the announced meeting location the following morning.

"Our motto is 'whatever it takes,'" Helbig said. "We don't want this to be a lingering question like some missing people become. ... We want to bring her home to her family where she belongs."

Ford said she's preparing for a big search in Cape Girardeau County this weekend. She'd like to have up to 50 people helping to search for Waller. Anyone willing to join the search can meet at 8 a.m. Saturday at the Rhodes 101 in Fruitland. Searchers will reveal the locations at that time.

People wishing to donate to a Jacque Waller Reward Fund can make contributions at any US Bank location. The public can also stay updated on events for Waller via the Justice for Jacque Fund Raiser Committee Facebook page. A separate Facebook page titled Find Jacque S Waller has been "liked" by more than 7,000 network users. Recently, a Twitter account -- @FindJacqueWalle -- was opened to update the public on Waller's case.

ehevern@semissourian.com

388-3635

Pertinent address:

Woodland Drive and North Neal Street, Jackson, MO

Map of pertinent addresses

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