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Theresa Parker - GA 911 Dispatcher
Post by FindCarrie on Apr 7th, 2007, 8:56pm
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation has to prioritize missing person cases, and the search for missing 911 dispatcher Theresa Parker is at the top of the list, GBI Director Vernon Keenan said.
Keenan was in LaFayette on Friday to personally get a status report from his investigators working Parker’s missing person case and to ensure that Walker County Sheriff Steve Wilson is getting all the assistance he needs.
“These type of cases are a priority for the state of Georgia,” Keenan said. “There’s an entire apparatus that comes into play whenever there is a priority case like this, where evidence submitted to the crime lab gets priority handling, the analytical component of the intelligence unit comes into play and of course the regional office (in Calhoun) that forms the backbone of our investigative capabilities makes it a priority.”
The GBI recorded the number for a set period of time of women beginning with age 18 that were reported missing and then looked at how many of those cases have been resolved.
“We looked at all those reports and started work through our intelligence unit to deter-mine how many of those women are still missing and how many of them have been re-turned,” Keenan said. “Our purpose in that was to try to have the record accurately reflect missing women so law enforcement can stay concentrated on those that are currently still missing.”
“When a female is reported missing under suspicious circumstances it becomes a law enforcement priority as this case has,” he said.
Investigators have to use a sliding scale to prioritize open missing women cases, he said.
“It really prioritizes by the circumstances that they were reported missing,” Keenan said. “If a housewife is missing under suspicious circumstances, that immediately gets law enforcement’s attention. Some of these other people may be persons who have a history of running away, or have a history of mental illness or acute drug abuse.
“Yes, that merits law enforcement’s attention, but not the seriousness of a housewife missing,” he said. “They’re always serious, but some of these cases stand out as a problem.”
Parker has no record of running away, previous disappearances or drug use.
Keenan said there are several high profile cases around the state, both open and closed. Sueann Ray was reported missing last summer in Cherokee County and her vehicle was found abandoned in Wal-Mart parking lot. Law officials arrested her ex-husband for her murder after their recent divorce.
“That was an intense investigation, as is this one (for Parker), with a tremendous amount of resources applied to it with the local law enforcement and the GBI,” Keenan said, adding the Parker case was handled similarly “in the context that every lead is aggressively pursued as it develops.”
In Ocilla, single high school history teacher Tara Grinstead vanished in October 2005. She is still missing and authorities are still looking for her.
“I’m sorry to say these are not unusual cases in the state of Georgia or the United States,” Keenan said. “Some cases become high profile. Others do not.”
“These are important cases and we desperately want to bring resolution to what has happened,” he said.
Keenan, formerly special agent in charge at the regional Calhoun office, worked in northwest Georgia from 1973 to 1988 and is familiar with the area and local law enforcement agencies.
Sgt. Sam Parker hires attorney
Post by FindCarrie on Apr 10th, 2007, 12:35pm
By Eric Beavers
The flow of information surrounding the search for missing 911 dispatcher Theresa Parker is slowing to a trickle.
Walker County Sheriff Steve Wilson, however, is encouraging the public to continue contacting authorities with relevant tips.
The sheriff on Tuesday confirmed that the Georgia Bureau of Investigation on Thursday, April 5, searched police lockers at the LaFayette Department of Public Safety.
Sam Parker, Theresa’s estranged husband and the only “person of interest” named so far in the case, is a LaFayette police sergeant.
Wilson also confirmed that Sam Parker acquired an attorney that same Thursday. The attorney encouraged Parker not to speak to authorities any more without representation, the sheriff said. Wilson said he did not know who is representing Parker.
Neighbors say Sgt. Parker threatened to hurt himse
Post by FindCarrie on Apr 15th, 2007, 4:49pm
By Tim Carlfeldt
Former LaFayette police Sgt. Sam Parker was escorted by his personal physician from his home on Cordell Avenue late Friday night after a call to 911 indicated trouble at the home.
Reports from neighbors who declined to be indentified indicated that Parker “was threatening to hurt himself.”
Walker County Sheriff Steve Wilson spoke with Parker. “He is receiving medical attention, and is under the care of his physician.” Wilson said at the scene after Parker left.
Parker was fired from his job Friday because of explosive devices found by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation in his work locker during a search last week. That search was part of the investigation into the disappearance of Parker’s estranged wife Theresa, who was last seen March 21.
Although GBI has named Sam Parker as a “person of interest” and has questioned him extensively, LaFayette Director of Public Safety Tommy Freeman said his firing is in no way connected to the investigation of his wife’s disappearance.
Sheriff Wilson arrived at Parker’s home after authorities had blocked off on Cordell Avenue in anticipation of a potential standoff and the need for medical personnel. Wilson declined to elaborate on the specific nature of the 911 call or by whom it was placed.
Wilson said he summoned Parker’s sister Carolyn Wooten to the scene as well as Parker’s personal physician. “She went inside the house and then she and Sam came out and spoke with us in the driveway.”
Wilson said that Parker was very despondent. “He communicated to me that it had been a very bad day – he had lost his job, investigators have been coming down hard on him and he didn’t know where his wife was.”
Wilson characterized the situation as “a good ending to what could have been a tragic evening.”
“When we responded here we certainly didn’t know what the outcome would be,” the sheriff said. “I’ve known Sam for 27 years, and I’m happy to report that we were able to defuse a very tense moment.”
The sheriff said that he was the only law enforcement officer up at the house during the situation, and that there were no threats made or weapons brandished. The sheriff declined to elaborate further as to Parker’s mental state or where he is being treated.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is leading the investigation. Anyone with information is asked to call (706) 624-1424, (706) 638-1913 or (706) 375-7810.
Theresa Parker’s family sets up fund; prayer vigi
Post by FindCarrie on Apr 25th, 2007, 6:24pm
By Tim Carlfeldt
LAFAYETTE- A month has passed since 911 dispatcher Theresa Parker was last heard from, and now her family is setting up a fund to help keep the case from going cold.
Hilda and Jonathan Wilson, Theresa’s sister and brother-in-law, set up an account Friday at The Bank of LaFayette to receive donations.
Jonathan said the money will be used to increase the reward offer and to help pay for private efforts to locate Theresa, such as billboards and posters.
“We’ve personally matched the $1,000 reward that the governor authorized, and may add more,” Jonathan said.
The bank account is a non-interest bearing account typically used for a fund soliciting donations, according to Keren McCulloch of The Bank of LaFayette.
The family is seeking to have the fund set up as a nonprofit organization so that donations can be
Theresa Parker, missing since March 21 tax-deductible, Jonathan said.
Theresa’s co-workers at the Walker County 911 center plan to get the information out and solicit donations through an e-mail campaign.
“We just want to keep the prayers flowing and to build upon the reward that the governor put out,” said Rebecca Brown, who worked under Theresa for four years and is now the day shift supervisor at the 911 center.
She said they have also organized another prayer vigil for Theresa for Thursday night.
DONATIONS may be deposited at any Bank of LaFayette branch to account no. 643718
OR sent to:
Theresa Parker Fund
P.O. Box 1071
LaFayette, GA 30728
For questions or account information, contact Keren McCulloch at the Bank of LaFayette (706) 639-4327
A PRAYER VIGIL for Theresa Parker will be held at the outdoor pavilion near the Walker County Civic Center on Thursday, April 26, at 7 p.m.
Theresa Parker Sisters Describe Alleged Abuse By O
Post by FindCarrie on May 8th, 2007, 4:17pm
Sisters of missing 911 dispatcher Theresa Parker said Monday night that she left her LaFayette Police Department husband after he went after her in a bathtub last July.
Christina Hall and Hilda Wilson were guests of Judy O'Neal on Night Talk on UCTV-3.
They said Ms. Parker filed for divorce after the frightening incident, and Sgt. Sam Parker afterwards mainly lived with his father at Trion, Ga.
Ms. Hall said Theresa stated that she was in the bathtub when she looked up and saw Sam Parker standing over her in the tub with his boots and clothes on. Theresa said he began slashing at her and cut her with a candle.
The sisters said on another occasion, Parker threw Theresa's clothes out of their house on Cordell Road in LaFayette.
The sisters said they had seen Sam Parker being verbally abusive to Theresa, but never saw him strike her.
The sisters said at times he could be "a charmer" to her as well.
They said in the days before Theresa Parker's disappearance that Sam Parker began to return some items to the house on Cordell Road. They said the items included guns. He said his guns were getting "rusty" at the other residence, the sisters said.
They said officers were called to the Parker house on domestic incidents, but no one was ever arrested.
Sam Parker has been listed as "a person of interest" in the case, but no arrest has been made. Theresa Parker is still missing.
Ms. Wilson said she is now convinced she was likely killed.
But the sisters declined to speculate on how she may have died and who was responsible.
They praised the work of detectives handling the case, but said they have not been told much information by those handling the matter.
The sisters ruled out the possibility that Theresa could have gone off without telling anyone, saying she was close to family members and kept in regular contact with them.
Ms. Hall said a few days after Theresa's disappearance, she went through the house she was moving to in Fort Oglethorpe and did not find anything unusual.
She said she last saw her about 9:30 p.m. on a Wednesday night. She said Theresa told her she was going to the Fort Oglethorpe house, then to Cordell Road to get some items there.
Asked the role of former LaFayette officer Ben Chaffin in the case, the sisters said they do not know. They said he and Sam Parker were close friends and "drinking buddies."
Chaffin has been charged with lying on some fact pertaining to the disappearance of Ms. Parker, but authorities have not given any details.
Search Resumes for Missing Walker Co. Dispatcher
Post by FindCarrie on Jun 3rd, 2007, 09:13am
WALKER COUNTY, Ga. (FOX 5) – Police are firing up the search for missing 911 operator, Theresa Parker. Saturday, they launched a systematic, large scale hunt through a forest, hoping to find clues or her body.
More than 130 people combed the forest where police detected a transmission from Walker County 911 operator Theresa Parker's cell phone right around the time she disappeared in March and Saturday's search was the first large scale since then.
They're just walking through and looking, going slowly, moving maybe a foot at a time," said Randy Camp, Walker County Fire Chief.
As emergency workers and volunteers plowed through the woods Saturday, they marked their progress with tissue paper, hoping to find a breakthrough.
"Anything that might be a clue, anything and everything," said search volunteer James Yearout.
"We're looking for a cell phone or cell phone parts. We're looking for personal effect items, a hairbrush, a purse, a driver's license," said Walker County Sheriff Steve Wilson.
The search area was old forest that was clear cut years ago, making for thick growth, uneven terrain and lots of underbrush, which searchers said made it very difficult to find anything.
"The foliage is very heavy, very dense out there today, and that has complicated our search and slowed it somewhat," said Wilson.
Some volunteers said they were irritated with Parker's husband Sam, who told FOX 5 News that his wife was fine, but wouldn't say were she was.
Police have labeled Sam Parker a person of interest, but some searchers weren't so restrained.
"All the evidence points towards to him, you just gotta grit your teeth and bear it. It's really heartbreaking. It really is," said search volunteer Sammy Cash.
Searchers and investigators alike said achieving closure was their reason for continuing to search for answers into Theresa Parker's disappearance.
"If you knew Theresa, you knew she was a great person and that drives the volunteers. It drives the public," said Camp.
"We'd love to see some kind of closure for the family, for the Parker family," said Cash.
Dog trained to sniff blood brought in to missing d
Post by FindCarrie on Sep 14th, 2007, 8:09pm
The Federal Bureau of Investigation has brought in a specially trained dog from the United Kingdom to help in the search for a missing 911 dispatcher.
The dog, an English Springer Spaniel named Eddie, and his handler, Martin Grime, will be in Lafayette for several days to help search for Theresa Parker, who has been missing since March 21, Walker County Sheriff Steve Wilson said on Thursday.
Grime, a 30-year veteran of police and military K-9 forensic investigations, said Eddie can pick up evidence that cannot be found any other way, even by other K-9 units.
"Our investigation is still very active and ongoing," Wilson said.
Wilson said there were several areas in and around LaFayette that he wanted the dog to check.
The dog is trained to sniff out blood samples that may be too small to be seen by the human eye, even after items have been cleaned or washed many times.
Sam Parker has maintained he had nothing to do with his wife's disappearance. The couple was in the process of getting a divorce when she disappeared.
Parker, a former LaFayette police officer, has been named a person of interest in the case by authorities.
A man who worked with Parker, Harbin "Ben" Chaffin, is facing trial accused of tampering with evidence in the case.
Husband Held in Dispatcher's Disappearance
Post by FindCarrie on Feb 4th, 2008, 8:14pm
Web Editor: Tracey Christensen
LaFAYETTE, Ga. (AP) -- Authorities have charged the estranged husband of missing Walker County 911 dispatcher Theresa Parker with murder in her death.
Samuel Parker, 52, had been a person of interest in the case since his 42-year-old wife disappeared nearly 11 months ago, but Walker County Sheriff Steve Wilson declined to talk about what prompted authorities to arrest her husband Monday morning.
Theresa Parker's body still hasn't been found, Wilson said.
"This arrest today is just a culmination of a lot of hard work over the past 10 months by law enforcement dedicated to this case," Wilson said in a phone interview.
Rome Judicial Circuit District Attorney Leigh Patterson asked him not to discuss the details of the case publicly, Wilson said. Patterson was appointed to the case after Walker County District Attorney Herbert "Buzz" Franklin recused himself because of a potential conflict of interest.
Wilson says the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the FBI assisted his deputies in making the arrest at Samuel Parker's home in LaFayette.
Theresa Walker was last seen the night of March 21, 2007, leaving her sister's home.
Samuel Parker, a former LaFayette Police officer, had maintained his innocence throughout the investigation. Wilson said his office has not received notification that Samuel Parker has hired an attorney.
The couple was in the process of getting a divorce when the woman disappeared. Family members have said the couple had a history of domestic problems. According to 911 logs, police were called to the Parker residence for domestic disputes at least twice - once in 2002 and again in 2004.
Sam Parker was fired from the LaFayette Police Department a couple of months after his wife's disappearance for having explosives in his locker at work. He had been with the department about 25 years.
Another former LaFayette Police office, Ben Chaffin, was arrested in April and then again in July in connection with the case. He has been charged with violation of oath by a public officer, tampering with evidence and computer invasion of privacy.
Wilson has refused to talk about the charges against Chaffin.
Family of Theresa Parker Gets Closure 3 1/2 Years
Post by FindCarrie on Sep 24th, 2010, 9:54pm
Submitted by Nordia Epps on September 22, 2010 - 10:09pm.
After three and a half years some closure for the family of Theresa Parker.
The Georgia Bureau of investigation today identified remains found in Chattooga County as those of Theresa Parker.
The 911 operator disappeared in March of 2007.
Last September a jury found her estranged husband former La Fayette Police Officer Sam Parker guilty of her murder.
The search for Walker County 911 Dispatcher Theresa Parker ended here on Fullerton road in Chattooga County...12 miles from her estranged husband Sam Parker's childhood home.
Monday afternoon while looking for driftwood a farmer found a jawbone on the banks of the Chattooga river.
Sheriff John Everett, Chatooga County, "We responded we secured the scene we assembled a search team around 5:49 pm that evening we found other skeletal remains."
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation used dental records to identify the remains as those of Teresa Parker.
She disappeared in March of 2007.
Her family and coworkers were among the first to hear the news.
David Ashburn, Walker Co. 911 Director, "It's a great day and a terrible day. Great that we have an answer but it's terrible it's not the answer we want. They are all taking it in stride. It's a tough moment for the groups."
The discovery comes around a year after a jury found Sam Parker guilty of her murder in a largely circumstantial case.
Special Agent Jerry Scott, GBI, "The jurors in this case now will realize they did the right thing."
Lead prosecutor Leigh Patterson says this discovery could impact Sam Parker's appeal and request for a new trial.
Leigh Patterson, Lead Prosecutor, "What that says about Sam Parker I think you can draw your own conclusion. She didn't run away. She didn't run away from her family she would never have left her mother and her sisters and her nieces and her nephews in limbo."
And now answers for her family...and authorities hope a chance to really start healing.
Sheriff Steve Wilson, Walker County, "We've all I think felt the urgency and need to recover her remains and bring them back so that she could rest in peace. So she could rest in a proper burial spot."
Sheriff Steve Wilson says the GBI will now try to determine how Theresa died.
That could take a couple of weeks.
The remains will then be released to the family for burial.