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Police searching along Interstate 55 for items related to Waller case

Friday, November 4, 2011

(Photo)
Officials from the Jackson Police Department, sheriff's department and a member of the FBI Evidence Response Team canvass the hillside for evidence in the search for Jacque Waller along the southbound lane of Interstate 55 near mile marker 104 Thursday afternoon, November 3, 2011. Waller's vehicle was found abandoned June 2 along Interstate 55 near mile marker 104. Waller has been missing since June 1.
(Laura Simon) [Order this photo]
Jackson police, firefighters, Cape Girardeau County sheriff's deputies and FBI personnel canvassed the area where Jacque Waller's car was found for items associated with her disappearance Thursday afternoon.

(Photo)
A deputy with the Cape Girardeau County Sheriff's Department canvasses the hillside for evidence in the search for Jacque Waller along the southbound lane of Interstate 55 near mile marker 104 Thursday afternoon, November 3, 2011. Waller's vehicle was found abandoned June 2 along Interstate 55 near mile marker 104. Waller has been missing since June 1.
(Laura Simon)
Investigators were canvassing an area along Interstate 55 near the 104 mile marker looking for items that may be evidence in the case. Jackson police chief James Humphreys said the area is being canvassed again because it was mowed after the warm-weather season when grass was tall. The area had been searched after the disappearance, but this was the first opportunity police had to look over the area after the recent mowing, Humphreys said. Humphreys said he was unsure when the area was mowed.

The area had last been searched in late June or early July, said Lt. David James with the Cape Girardeau County Sheriff's Department.

A staff member with the Missouri Department of Transportation in Sikeston couldn't provide an exact date the area was mowed but said it would have been within the last two weeks. MoDOT said the area is mowed four times a year.

Authorities combed the area Thursday, marking points and items of interest with orange evidence flags. Jackson firefighters looked for clues in a drainage ditch near the interstate. As of 5 p.m., when most investigators left the scene, the bottom of a steep incline in the southernmost part of the searched area had the largest cluster of flags.

James said items associated with the investigation have been found but declined to comment on those items and their importance to the investigation.

Interstate 55 was reduced to one lane on the southbound side for the search and was to be reduced through the night, James said. Lights were to overlook the area, with highway patrol troopers standing guard until the search resumes early today. Authorities will also search the northbound side of the interstate, Humphreys said.

(Photo)
Jacque Waller
Ruby Rawson, Waller's mother, said she was unsure if volunteer groups had searched the area before but was hopeful authorities would find something that would lead them to her daughter.

"Law enforcement has been good to us so far," she said. "I'm very appreciative of their continued efforts."

Volunteers and law enforcement will canvass Cape County Park South with cadaver dogs all day Saturday, according to a Facebook page dedicated to the Jacque Waller search.

Waller disappeared June 1, and her vehicle was found abandoned on the side of I-55 in the area where investigators were searching Thursday afternoon. Her estranged husband, Clay Waller, has been named as a suspect in her disappearance, and Cape Girardeau County Prosecuting Attorney Morley Swingle has filed papers saying he anticipates a murder charge in the case.

Clay Waller is in federal custody after pleading guilty to making an Internet threat against Jacque Waller's sister, who has custody of the couple's triplets.

A judge is set to consider whether Swingle can preserve testimony from Clay Waller's father, purportedly saying that Clay Waller confessed to murdering his wife. A hearing on the matter is coming up Nov. 18.

Clay Waller has repeatedly denied any involvement in the disappearance of Jacque Waller. Police say Clay Waller was the last person to see her before her car was found abandoned on I-55.

psullivan@semissourian.com

388-3635

Pertinent address:

Fruitland, MO


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Again, old news, chuck this one up to poor reporting by the Missourian yet again because they did not ask that same question. I believe the answer would be that they did search that area already but have decided to go back and look again now that the area has been mowed prior to winter

-- Posted by mystery9 on Thu, Nov 3, 2011, at 5:09 PM

All:

These are questions we are seeking answer to. This isn't the final version of the article.

-- Posted by Matt Sanders on Thu, Nov 3, 2011, at 5:26 PM

Have to agree with the previous posters. If this area was so important why wait for one of those large mowers that will chew up everything in its path to start looking more closely. Why not get some weed eaters and cut smaller areas under a more controlled way.

Matt, was there any injuries in the accident involving several vehicles along the interstate next to the area being searched in the southbound lane? The red car with air bags deployed and windshield busted out looked pretty bad.

-- Posted by gman on Thu, Nov 3, 2011, at 5:42 PM

gman: I wasn't aware there was an accident. Did this happen during the search? Our reporter and photographer didn't see one while they were there, but that definitely doesn't mean there wasn't anything.

-- Posted by Matt Sanders on Thu, Nov 3, 2011, at 5:52 PM

Matt not sure when it happened or the cause. I drove by around 5:15 pm going north bound. Did not rubber neck much except to see the damage.

I hope they find something that can help push this investigation further along into finding this lady.

-- Posted by gman on Thu, Nov 3, 2011, at 6:00 PM

gman:

I just talked to the reporter we sent out there, and he said he saw the wreck after all. He said one car rear-ended another, but there didn't seem to be any injuries. We'll check on it, though.

-- Posted by Matt Sanders on Thu, Nov 3, 2011, at 6:24 PM

Sounds like they planted evidence and they want to go back and "search again."

-- Posted by tpworker on Fri, Nov 4, 2011, at 8:50 AM

KFVS leads us to believe "items related to the Waller case" have been found, while this article leads us to believe this is just a 2nd search conducted after mowing. Wonder what is going on? How does one reporter get the KFVS story and another reporter gets the 'mowing' story?

-- Posted by bargal on Fri, Nov 4, 2011, at 9:13 AM
Response by Matt Sanders:
Bargal:

Our story also indicates they've found evidence related to the case. From the story:

"James said items associated with the investigation have been found but declined to comment on those items and their importance to the investigation. "

It sure looks like investigaters have dropped the ball. This area should have been searched extensively the next day, week, month Instead the police and family focused all their energies on Waller.

It would be great to find Jacque, but wouldn't it be tragic if they found her feet from where her car had been abandon months and months later. Shame.

-- Posted by ziggie on Fri, Nov 4, 2011, at 9:31 AM

i don't know a lot about police investigations, but i was sort of surprised from day one that blood hounds were not brought in immediately to sniff the area right around where her car was left. in my mind this should have been done before it rained, and if i recall there were several days after she went missing that there was no rain. if it was a matter of funding to get those bloodhounds here, i think most of us would have donated to make it happen. perhaps i don't have a good enough understanding how bloodhounds work in police investigations, afterall i only know from what i have seen on tv. and well, you know how that goes...

-- Posted by TommyStix on Fri, Nov 4, 2011, at 11:44 AM


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