An intensive two-day air/ground search for Molly Miller ended in frustration Thursday afternoon, but Carter County Sheriff Ken Grace said "no stone (would be left) unturned" in the hunt for the Wilson teenager.
Grace said CCSD Capt. Gregg Johnson had scoured areas of Love and Carter counties by air — first by plane Wednesday and by helicopter Thursday — working leads in the case of the 17-year-old who disappeared June 28. Meanwhile CCSD Deputy Rick Batt coordinated ground support carried out by deputies with the Carter and Love County sheriff's departments.
"At the request of Wilson Police Chief Felix Hernandez, we are assisting the Wilson Police Department in this investigation," Grace said. "The nature of some of the leads that have developed were such that they required we have someone looking from the air as well as a ground search. Fortunately, we were aided by a Carter County resident and the Stephens County Sheriff's Department in the air search."
The sheriff said a Carter County man, who wishes to remain anonymous, piloted Johnson in his private plane Tuesday. Wednesday, Stephens County Sheriff Wayne McKinney, who pilots his department's helicopter, entered the search with Johnson on board.
"The combination of an air/ground operation is simply a method that allows us to more thoroughly search certain areas. In this case, the search centered on areas located both in Carter and Love counties," Grace said.
Authorities said when Miller was reported missing by family members, she was believed to be in the company of Colt Haynes. The 21-year-old Wilson man is wanted on an outstanding Carter County arrest warrant.
Early leads included reports of the couple being seen in various locations. However, sighting reports have since ceased. Miller was last heard from on the morning of July 8, when Herndandez said she called a friend, saying she was in Love County. Last week, a search party, including an estimated 60-70 people, searched an area between Oswalt and Long Hollow roads on foot, horseback and four-wheelers. The search turned up no clues as to the girl's whereabouts.
She is currently considered missing and endangered.
Wednesday, Grace said while the two-day air/ground search was unsuccessful and frustrating, the investigation remains active.
"If this was my daughter or yours, we would want to know where she is, and that's what we are doing. We are going to follow every lead. We are going above and beyond," he said.
Miller is Caucasian with blue eyes and brown hair that may be dyed black. She is 5 feet 5 inches tall and weighs approximately 95 pounds. Her bottom lip is pierced.
Grace urged anyone with information concerning the whereabouts of Miller and/or Haynes to call the Carter County Sheriff's Department at (580) 223-6014 or Wilson Police Department at (580) 668-2136.