Talon News - Good Local News

By Jacque Ritchie



December 29, 2017

The family is offering a reward to info on Lewis "Jim" Stouffer

The mysterious disappearance of Lewis 'Jim' Stouffer of Bloomfield has been the subject of speculation, frustration and debate. Six months after the husband and father of one disappeared, the case has turned decidedly cold. As often happens, this story has slipped from the forefront of attention, of the paper, much to the consternation of Stouffer's eleven brothers and sisters.

In an effort to energize the investigation, Stouffer's younger brother, Nicholas Sinnott SMSgt USAF traveled from his post in Great Britain to Aztec to aid in the search. "I've been in town about a week and a half. I got off the plane and just hit the ground running, trying to run down some leads," he said. In a recent interview with the TALON Sinnott revealed two clues and is seeking assistance from the public.

The family and authorities are seeking any information on the where-abouts of Brennan Johnson, 27, of Farmington. According to Sinnott, Stouffer was positively identified as being in the company of Johnson as late as June 19, six days after Stouffer's June 13 disappearance. Apparently Stouffer had recently be-friended Johnson. "This guy (Johnson) could very well be the last or one of the last people to have seen Jim," Sinnot said. According to NM courts.com Johnson currently has a warrant for failure to pay a fine on a misdemeanor no proof of insurance ticket but no felony criminal history.

Stouffer' Hyundai Elantra was discovered on a gas well access road, off Hwy. 174, on July 5. Sinnott believes that his brother did not leave the vehicle at the location. Further, Sinnott speculated that the vehicle was left at the site in an effort to confuse authorities and basically send searchers in the wrong direction. "Based on the things found around the car we believe the scene was staged. I don't think Jim was ever there. I hate to say it but at this point I think it's possible he (Stouffer) was murdered some place else and the car was purposely placed there after the fact."

Sinnott contends that his brother is a devoted husband and father and was not suicidal. "At first they thought that it might be a suicide but there's no way. I want to state that there is absolutely no chance that he would ever do that." Sinnott does not believe that his brother's disappearance is a case of a mid-life crisis. "I wish to God that would be the case, that he's like on a beach someplace."

The second clue is a long shot. According to Sinnott, the Stouffer household has received numerous phone calls from an unidentified caller. The caller does not speak but can be heard breathing on the other end. Stouffer/Sinnott families are asking for any information about anyone connected to the phone number (505)686-2025.

During his stay in San Juan County, Sinnott has been very busy. He began with a visit to the site where the vehicle was found saying with a sigh, "It is not a crime scene, no body." Sinnott has also spent a lot of time with his sister-in-law and his niece, "We have been blasting the area with flyers," including Farmington, Bloomfield, Aztec, Dulce, and Chama."

Bloomfield Police Detective Moreno and Sinnott searched cliffs and ravines in the Farmington area, particularly around a former Stouffer residence. Sinnottt's efforts have led BPD to partner with SJC Sheriff's Office to work together on the investigation in the future.

Sinnott speaks with wistful fondness of his missing brother, "Jim is truly a man with a heart of gold. He didn't have much but he would share whatever he had with anyone in need."

The Sinnott and Stouffer family wanted to once again thank area residents for all their assistance, "Everyone has been very empathetic."

With a tone of resigned resolve Sinnott said, "Let's find out what happened to Jim, let's have a funeral, then let's find the bad guys."

The family is offering a reward to anyone with information leading to the resolution of the case. Anyone with information about or contact information for Brennan Johnson; anyone who may have any information about the mysterious phone number, can contact Det. Mareno or Det. Duran at BPD, (505) 632-6311; SJCSO at (505) 334-6107; NM Department of Public Safety at 1-800-457-3463; TALON at (505) 334-1039, or contact Nick Sinnott at: [email protected]


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