News from the Tennessee Valley State, Local and National news
SUNDAY, JULY 22, 2007

Boaz fire chief reaches out to family of missing woman

BOAZ (AP) — With no sign of Kimberly Whitton and her 11-year-old daughter, Haleigh Culwell, missing since June 21, Boaz’s fire chief said he knows the agony their relatives are enduring.

“I know their pain. The 14th of next month will be nine years that my daughter, Christy, come up missing. I’m not giving up. I’ll still search for her until the Lord takes me home,” Fire Chief Olen Morrison told Huntsville TV station WAFF.

Whitton’s sister, Sherri Compton, said, “We don’t know where they are. We don’t know if they’re alive or dead.”

A federal agent has testified that 38-year-old Barry Whitton, now held on a weapons charge, is a suspect in the disappearance of his wife and stepdaughter from their Jackson County home. Whitton’s property was searched following his arrest July 12.

Bloody hatchet handle

FBI Special Agent Curtis Parker testified Tuesday during Whitton’s detention hearing that during the search, investigators found blood on a hatchet handle and in one of his pickups. Agents also recovered five weapons, including a loaded rifle and shotgun, Parker said.

The Boaz fire chief works with the national organization “Team Hope,” which is part of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

Morrison said he handles calls and counseling all over the United States in cases of missing children.

But when the opportunity arose to minister to a hurting family close to home, Morrison said he knew what he had to do. He planned to visit the missing woman’s family this weekend.

Morrison also wants to talk with the family and law enforcement about organizing a massive search. He said he has the contacts. All he needs is the word “go.”

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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