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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 Parkers 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. Theres 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 enforcements 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 enforcements attention, but not the seriousness of a housewife missing, he said. Theyre 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.
Im 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.
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.
* LaFayette police Sgt. Sam Parker suspended. (Published April 6, 2007)
* Sheriff says leads in missing dispatcher case are really slow coming in. (Published April 6, 2007)
* Sheriff thinks missing dispatcher Theresa Parker is "in a 25-mile radius of LaFayette. (Published April 5, 2007)
* Bond set at $5,000 for LaFayette police Cpl. Bill Chaffin. (Published April 5, 2007)
* Pond search turns up no new clues in missing dispatcher case. (Published April 4, 2007)
* LaFayette police corporal arrested in connection with missing woman case. (Published April 3, 2007)
* Local businesses displaying ribbons for Theresa Parker. (Published April 3, 2007)
* Psychics offering help in missing dispatcher case. (Published April 3, 2007)
* Authorities draining pond near Parker house. (Published April 2, 2007)
* Police sergeant named "person of interest in missing wife case. (Published April 2, 2007)
* GBI, Dalton Crime Scene Unit search Parker home. (Published March 31, 2007)
* More than 200 volunteers turn out for 35-square-mile ground search. (Published March 31, 2007)
* Prayer vigil for Theresa Parker held at courthouse. (Published March 30, 2007)
* Theresa Parkers family fearing the worst. (Published March 30, 2007)
* Sam Parkers sister holds news conference. (Published March 30, 2007)
* Attorney talks about fishing trip with Sam Parker. (Published March 30, 2007)
* Family, friends, co-workers pray for missing dispatcher. (Published March 30, 2007)
* Investigators finding more details about dispatcher's disappearance. (Published March 30, 2007)
* Family, friends and co-workers hold hope for missing dispatcher. (Published March 28, 2007)
* Authorities continue search for missing 911 dispatcher. (Published March 28, 2007)
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