by Donna McCollum
Contributions from KSLA-TV
Janet Watson, a former school teacher left for Shelby County a week ago Sunday from her home in Newton. She never arrived and clues indicate she may be a victim of foul play.
An employee of a Logansport roadside casino says she was the last one to see Watson alive. The claim is Watson was a regular, played the machines that night and left with one thousand dollars in cash. Within two hours later her burned out truck was found on Highway 191 in Louisiana's DeSota Parrish. Watson's cell phone was later found by a fisherman under a Toldeo Bend bridge. These are clues that lead to lots of speculation. Those who know Watson find the connection hard to believe.
Now the family is following their own clues with Texas EquuSearch. The search and recovery team hunts for hundreds of missing people from Aruba to California. Volunteers are on the Texas Louisiana state line searching a body of water. It's a place closer to Watson's home that the family wants searched. EquuSearch tends to agree with their intuition. The founder and director, Tim Miller said, "I myself in past experiences don't believe they took her as far as the phone is and where the car was burned. From past experience we think they took her and dumped her somewhere before that."
Miller got a call from the family on Labor Day. He had just returned from a search in California when he loaded up to help the Watson family. Sonar equipment will be submerged in the waters. A helicopter may fly in. If necessary four wheelers, dogs and maybe horses will be dispatched. The gambling theory is not totally dismissed, but mistaken identities are common in Miller's line of work. "We've done so many cases where someone identifies the missing person and it turns out to be mistaken identity. Her family says (gambling) it's not her character. That she did not gamble. She wouldn't even order ice tea because of the extra cost. She was real tight with her money. The family knows her better than anyone."
Experience will drive this latest search effort for Janet Watson. Unfortunately the outcome may not be what the family is wanting. Miller said, "It's another one of those searches that unfortunately I don't believe it's going to have a happy ending."