Talon News - Good Local News

By Jacque Ritchie
TALON 

FINDING JIM

 

December 8, 2017

The National Crime Information Center (NCIC) reports approximately 486 people are listed as missing in New Mexico. Twenty-two people from San Juan County are missing including nine people from Aztec and six people from Bloomfield.

Lewis "Jim" Stouffer, 51, of Bloomfield was last seen on June 13, 2017. Stouffer dropped-off his common-law wife, Rose Parker at her Bloomfield nursing home job on Tuesday evening, and failed to pick her up the next morning. Parker reported Stouffer missing on June 19.

On July 5, Stouffer's red Honda was found on an oil and gas access road off of Hwy. 174 (Navajo Dam Road). Authorities launched a search of the immediate area that included a SJCSO helicopter and members of New Mexico Badlands Search and Rescue Team using specially trained dogs. The search was unsuccessful. Last August, Stouffer's brother Edmund Sinnott traveled from North Carolina to aid in the ground search which turned up four personal items that were positively tied to Stouffer. In a recent phone interview with the TALON, Sinnot declined to disclose what exactly the items are because of the ongoing investigation.

Sinnott reports that local bail bondsman Christine Eicker has volunteered hundreds of hours on horseback scouring the area around where the car was located. Sinnott and family want to express their sincere thanks to Eicker for her on-going efforts.

According to Sinnott the investigation has resulted in clues that only deepen the mystery of Stouffer's disappearance, "We have been able to build a six-day time line from the 13th to the June 19. We received two contacts with 100 percent certainty, so we know that he was alive at that time. Also on June 28, just a few days before his car was located, his car was definitely spotted."

Stouffer, an oilfield worker has lived with Parker for over 20 years, the couple share an adult daughter. Sinnott said that both Parker and the couple's daughter are distraught. "They are having a difficult time coping. It's very hard for them coming to grips with the possibility that this might not turn out well."

Originally from Buffalo, NY, Stouffer has 11 siblings living throughout the country. As for the family, Sinnott said, "Obviously, the holidays are particularly difficult and emotional for us. We get together and look at photos and reminisce, then it ends up we are trying to do detective work. We start asking each other, what have we missed? Are we doing as much as we can do?" In the on-going effort to locate their missing brother the family is offering a reward and have made use of a billboard located on Highway 550 in the Center Point area with Stouffer's picture, and contact information. "If we are not talking about Jimmy we are not going to find him," Sinnott said. "We just want to do whatever we can to make the public aware that Jim is still missing and for people to remain vigilant for any sign of him."

Sinnot said that he hopes to return to New Mexico in the spring to organize volunteers to continue the search.

In an August telephone interview Bloomfield Detective Jeremy Duran said that Stouffer's Honda was found locked at the gas well location and appeared to have been at the site since around July 1, over two weeks after Stouffer's disappeared. Further forensic investigation of the vehicle did not turn up any relevant physical evidence. Repeated attempts by the TALON to contact Detective Duran for follow-up information on the Stouffer investigation have been unsuccessful.

According to Todd Mathews, director of communications for the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System, on average between 90,000 and 100,000 people are missing in the United States at any given time. In an NPR interview Mathews said, "The majority of missing persons cases are resolved. So that means the person came back; in some cases the person is located deceased; sometimes, people just choose to go missing. They have the right to do that, as an adult. If I decide to disconnect from my family, move on, start a new life, I certainly have the right to do that." Historically though the longer a case goes unsolved the less likely there is to be a positive outcome.

A SJCSO source said that frequently missing people simply do not want to be found. The SJCSO source said that although they didn't have all the details on the Stouffer investigation, it did not appear to be a case of voluntary disappearance. According to SJCSO, in some cases when the subject of a search is contacted by law enforcement they express a desire not have their location revealed. Sometimes missing persons cases are just a miscommunication of some sort.

On November 8, 2017 Nelson Wood of Blanco was reported missing only to turn up alive and well in Durango on November 13. Apparently, Wood had found work in Durango and simply didn't tell anyone he was going there.

Anyone with information about any missing person call NMDPS Missing Person Hotline 1-800-457-3463.

MISSING FROM AZTEC:

Natalia Atencio, age 19, Date Missing 11/07/2017

Dimira Inez Ray, age 16, Date Missing 11/13/2017

Larry White, age 74, Date Missing 9/22/2017

Scott Allan Leslie, age 54, Date Missing 8/12/2017

Wilfired Weiland III, age 20, Date Missing 4/03/2016

Sharron Holcomb, age 67, Date Missing 11/18/2014

Austin Phillips, age 20, Date Missing 8/27/2014

James Stalder age, 57, Date Missing 12/21/2014

Alesha Brookshier, age 46, Date Missing 9/28/2008

MISSING FROM BLOOMFIELD:

Brian Anthony Lopez, age 43, Date Missing 11/27/2017

Daeshe Garcia, age 17, Date Missing 8/25/2017

Colton Paul Joe, age 28, Date Missing 6/22/2016

Damon Sam, age 37, Date Missing 4/17/2017

Christopher Reed, age 28, Date Missing 4/17/2017

Lewis G. Stouffer, age 51, Date Missing 6/13/2017

 

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