JASPER, TX (KTRE) - Despite rumors and speculations that have been making the rounds on social media, Sabine County Sheriff Tom Maddox said Tuesday morning that he has not received any word that the 28-year-old Jasper man missing since Nov. 7 has been found.
Alfred Wright disappeared near Hemphill after his car overheated and broke down at the CL&M Liquor Store on Highway 87. Wright's family said that he had been working in Hemphill as a home healthcare physical therapist.
"If we can't find him, we hope he is still alive," Maddox said. "I hope that somebody does find him."
Maddox said the Sabine County Sheriff's Office hasn't received any word from Wright's wife that her husband had been located. Although he has received several posts and messages saying that Wright has been found at several places in Texas, he has found no evidence to back up any of those allegations.
However, Maddox did say he suspects that Wright is still alive, and someone knows where he is. The Sabine County Sheriff added that have found no new evidence that Wright is still in Hemphill, but they are still conducting air searches.
John A. Irvine Jr., Wright's attorney, said he talked to Wright's wife earlier Tuesday morning, and said that she hadn't heard anything about her husband being found.
Last week, a team effort by East Texas News staffers, who sorted through assorted paperwork and talked to various government sources, uncovered new details about Wright's background.
Court records revealed that Wright has been charged with theft, embezzlement, theft, or misapplication by a bank employee. A federal indictment stated that the alleged theft or embezzlement occurred between Jan. 3 and Jan. 26, 2011.
Other documents revealed Wright excused his presence during an October 30, 2012 court hearing that was scheduled in Memphis to address a potential scheduling conflict with his trial date. That date has since been moved to December 9, 2013.
The document says Wright was excused through his lawyer because he "lives in Jasper, Texas, which is roughly an eight-hour drive from Memphis, TN."
Last week, Sabine County authorities announced that they were calling off the ground search efforts. As Maddox said earlier in this story, they are still looking for Wright from the air.
While the paperwork does raise new questions as to whether or not this is a missing person's case, Wright's attorney Jack Irvine said Wright had maintained his innocence and despite a plea deal offered to him which had "a penalty that was not significant," he was preparing to go to trial.
"I can tell you from getting to know Alfred that he has lived an exemplary life. He graduated Magna Cum Laude from college. He's got a physical therapy degree. He's got three wonderful kids and a wonderful wife and I can tell you that his disappearance again, I can't imagine that it has anything to do with the allegations up here in Memphis," Irvine said.
Irvine said Wright was an employee of the Memphis bank at the time the charges were filed and he was attending the University of Tennessee for physical therapy. He said Wright has actively proclaimed his innocence in the defense.
KTRE reached out to Wright's family for a comment on the indictment charges and was told that they will no longer conduct media interviews because their lawyer has advised them not to.
On Nov. 11, CL&M store clerk J.R. said she was outside smoking a cigarette when she watched Wright get out of his truck, put his cell phone in his pocket, and run towards the highway heading into town.
Alfred's mother, Rosalind Wright, said she received a cell phone call from her daughter-in-law about Alfred's truck breaking down. She said she was on the way to Hemphill from Jasper, which is approximately a 45-minute drive, when her son disappeared.
Annilia Wright-Mosley, Alfred's sister, said two days prior, Wright had been having car problems, as well.
"When his truck broke down two days before that with the alternator, he called my mom. He waited there by the truck and she came and he was able to go home. So, I don't know why in the world he would take off running or going somewhere towards town," Wright-Mosley said.
On Nov. 10, authorities discovered several of Wright's items in a pasture outside of town.
"[Authorities] told me they found his shirt, his scrub shirt … they went down a few more feet [and] they found his pants, keys, and he had a little silver metal deal that kept his I.D. and his credit cards in," Rosalind Wright said.
The pasture is located on Coussons Drive, which is a very dark road deep in the roads.
"It's bizarre. My son would never come down that dark road by himself … walking or running," Rosalind Wright said.
"First of all, I know my brother and to come down a road that's very eerie like this particular road - you would have to fight him to get him down this road," Wright-Mosley said.
A piece of clothing was also found on a barbed wire fence on the property.
Since the reveal of the federal charges, friends and family have taken to Facebook to continue to support the search for Wright. His family has been very active in proclaiming the type of man Wright is saying he is a "good, Christian man."
Wright graduated from Jasper High School in 2003 and went on to play football on a scholarship at Mary Hardin Baylor in 2004. He then transferred to the University of Tennessee to pursue a physical therapy degree. He and his wife Lauren have two sons. He also has a child from a previous relationship.
Wright is listed a black male. He is 5-foot-10 and 170 pounds. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Sabine County Sheriff's Office at (409) 787-2266.