Volunteers search more than 90 acres in Cape County for missing woman

Monday, July 18, 2011
Around 100 people turned out Saturday, July 16, 2011 to search for Jacque Waller. Waller, the mother of triplets, has been missing since June 1. Saturday's 88 acre search in rural Cape Girardeau County included the Scott County search and rescue K-9 unit with 3 search dogs and five locals on horseback to search the thicker terrain. The K-9 unit volunteered their services in collaboration with Christy Dabis with the Cue Center for Missing Persons out of North Carolina. The volunteers were split into teams, each canvassing predetermined areas of interest. (Laura Simon)

The more than 100 volunteers who combed through more than 90 rural acres in Cape Girardeau County over the weekend had one goal in mind -- bringing home Jacque Sue Waller.

Missing almost 50 days, Waller was last seen by her estranged husband, Clay Waller, in Jackson.

Although the searches Saturday and Sunday turned up no evidence that led to Waller, volunteers are still motivated, now more than ever.

"It was a big turnout," said Laura Helbig, a search volunteer. "Most of these people didn't know Jacque, they just want to help. It's really fortifying, and it gives us more adrenaline to keep going, knowing that there's so much support."

Also, Waller's case hit the national media circuit Thursday, a few days after business cards belonging to the missing mother of three were found by a Cape Girardeau County resident off Highway 177. Several teams focused on the area where Waller's Blue Cross Blue Shield business cards were found, according to Helbig. Lt. David James of the Cape Girardeau County Sheriff's Department said the cards, which were in a Blue Cross Blue Shield packet, were readable and in good condition but couldn't say how long they were lying on the ground in the area.

Jackson police chief James Humphreys said the community searches are a significant help in the effort to find the 39-year-old woman. He said organizers met with law enforcement Friday to verify the locations they were going to search and to discuss how to coordinate with any detectives who would be available if any evidence was found.

The CUE Center for Missing Persons, an agency in North Carolina, and the Scott County K-9 Search and Rescue Unit assisted in the weekend search.

"It multiplied our resources by tenfold," Humphreys said. "Especially with the CUE Center, they can come back anytime we want them to."

The case's recent media attention on "The Today Show," FOXNews and "Good Morning America" hasn't resulted in any new leads so far, Humphreys said Sunday.

"It's been extremely busy trying to keep up with all the media attention," Humphreys said. "But it is a help to be able to get the message out. It may land on the ears we need it to."

That has been the hope of Waller's family and friends for weeks now.

Waller's mother, Ruby Rawson, has said someone may have been traveling Interstate 55 at the time Waller's blue Honda Pilot was abandoned and saw something, although it may have not seemed suspicious at the time. The vehicle was found near the Fruitland exit hours after family reported Waller missing.

Family members last saw her in Ste. Genevieve, Mo., where Waller was staying with her sister. She came to Cape Girardeau and Jackson on June 1 to complete divorce proceedings and pick up her son from Clay Waller's former residence on Woodland Drive. Stan Rawson,

Jacque Waller's father said on "The Today Show" Saturday that someone had spoken with their daughter before she went to Clay Waller's home. Waller's family has said in several television interviews they have "no doubt" about what happened to their daughter.

"We know exactly what happened," Stan Rawson said in Saturday's interview on NBC. "The FBI forensics team was in that house for several days, and they can tell you exactly what happened. They probably won't, but they should."

Less than a week after Waller disappeared, Clay Waller was named by the Cape Girardeau/Bollinger County Major Case Squad as person of interest. Clay Waller continues to deny interviews with the media, but his attorney, Scott Reynolds, issued a statement to outlets last week. He said his client had nothing to do with the disappearance of Jacque Waller.

"Clay Waller misses his wife and hopes she is found OK," Reynolds said in the statement.

According to Tracy Ford, another volunteer, no new searches for Jacque Waller have been planned yet. She said she appreciated the help of all the volunteers who came to participate.

Waller's family is still offering a $3,500 reward to anyone who provides information that leads directly to their loved one. Donations can be made to the fund at any US Bank location.

ehevern@semissourian.com

388-3635

Pertinent address:

Woodland Drive and North Neal Street, Jackson, MO

Fruitland, MO

Map of pertinent addresses

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