The family of a man who vanished in 2016 is desperately seeking answers as well as closure.
Melvin Owens, a resident of Leflore County, went missing more than three years ago. To this day, neither local law enforcement authorities nor his relatives have received any tips about what might have happened to him.
“We haven’t gotten a lead. I mean, nobody’s seen something. It’s just been a mystery,” said Jannie Banks, Owens’ oldest sister.
The Carroll County and Leflore County sheriff’s departments have sent out a joint press release asking anyone with knowledge about Owens’ disappearance to contact either of the two departments “in an effort to give the family closure.”
Owens, then 49, was last seen at a nightclub in Cruger on April 27, 2016. He lived a short drive away from the club in a trailer park off U.S. 49 in Leflore County.
His car ended up on a dirt road off County Road 75 in Carroll County and was unoccupied when it was discovered. A security camera from a nearby hunting club recorded footage of Owens’ vehicle passing the club.
In July 2017, Leflore County Sheriff Ricky Banks told the Commonwealth that the security camera recorded a car going in but nothing coming out. He also said no footprints were found at the scene.
On Friday, Banks said there have been no new leads in the case. “We haven’t gotten any new information at all,” he said.
A week ago on Facebook, numerous people began sharing a link to the Commonwealth’s July 2017 article about Owens’ disappearance in an effort to bring in any information regarding the case.
Carroll County Sheriff Clint Walker said one of Owens’ relatives contacted him several weeks ago to see if his department could reach out to the public for information. Like Sheriff Banks, Walker said his department has received no leads.
After Owens’ disappearance, Leflore and Carroll deputies, Mississippi Highway Patrol officers and Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks staff conducted an extensive search by land and air of the area where Owens’ vehicle was located, Walker said.
“At this point, nothing’s showing foul play,” he said.
He also said that wildlife officials advised searchers to be wary of alligators in a nearby bayou. He recalled looking down from a helicopter and seeing large alligators there.
“It’s a very rough and dangerous place to be lost,” Walker said.
Still, Jannie Banks and other family members suspect the disappearance of Owens may be the result of foul play.
“I believe it’s foul play, and I truly believe that. He had two cars. He had a home he paid for. He didn’t have a reason to walk away and just leave like that,” Banks said. Owens also had two children, she said.
He had worked at Egypt Plantation for a time.
Owens, a Cruger native, enjoyed going back to his hometown to hang around outside Toody’s Stop-n-Shop, his sister said.
“He was nice. He wouldn’t bother nobody,” she said. “We just need some closure.”
She also said she appreciates Walker’s support. “I thank God for him,” she said.
“I hope Ms. Banks and her family can have some closure,” Walker said.
Walker said the two sheriff’s departments welcome any information from the public about Owens’ disappearance.
To provide information, contact the Leflore County Sheriff’s Department at 453-5141, the Carroll County Sheriff’s Department at 237-9284 or CrimeStoppers at 1-800-222-8477.
• Contact Gerard Edic at 581-7239 or firstname.lastname@example.org.