Search is on for

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 26, 1999

missing teenagers


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Published Aug. 26,1999

The Pike County Sheriff’s Department has launched a nation-wide search for two local teenagers who haven’t been seen since nearly a month ago by their parents.

Jaclyn Smith, 16, of Brundidge and Stan Hammond, also 16, of Troy allegedly left Pike County together in the early morning hours of July 31 and haven’t made contact with their families since.

Smith is the daughter of Diane and Gene Smith of Brundidge. Hammond is the son of Stan Ham-mond and Scarlett Ham-mond, both of Troy.

According to Pike Coun-ty Sheriff Russell Tho-mas, the two left together in Hammond’s 1995 green Ford Mustang.

There was a reported sighting of the two on Interstate 10 near Biloxi, Miss. on August 3.

They were placed in the Alexandria, La. area on August 8 due to a call made from Ham-mond’s cellular phone. Since that time, there have been no reported sightings or contacts with family members or friends.

Jaclyn’s mother is worried about her daughter.

"This is not like Jaclyn," Mrs. Smith said. "It’s hard to believe that she wouldn’t call home or let anyone know she is all right."

The two attended Pike Liberal Arts Academy and had been dating at the time of their disappearance.

Soon after the disappearance, Thomas said it was believed that the two were headed to Ocean Side, Calif., where Hammond had family. The destination also fit into the route the two seemed to be following. Now, Thomas and his department are stumped.

"We have the disappearance into a national network so that any contact with law enforcement will reveal the two as runaways," Thomas said. "We have also intensified out search in Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana, hoping for something to turn up."

Despite Thomas’ efforts, the two haven’t been heard from for two weeks.

"Up to this point, we have not suspected foul play, but with some of the things that have been going on late, we know we’ve got to be very cautious," he said. "These are kids who are away from home for the first time, out on their own and we can’t take it lightly."

Mrs. Smith described her feelings with teary eyes.

"It’s very frustrating," she said. "The sheriff’s department has been on this since the very beginning. They were there as soon as we reported the kids missing. We just don’t know what to do."

Smith said the stress is wearing on her and her family.

"I am so worn out from going over all of this in my mind," she said. "I wrestle with it all the time, wondering where they could be."

Thomas said the investigation will continue, but that some internal things will be examined to determine if the investigation is going where it should.

"We plan to look at all of this carefully and make sure we haven’t overlooked anything," he said. "This is important to us. We really feel for the families of these kids. It’s awful for them to not kno whether their children are okay."

Currently, the Pike County Sheriff’s Department is working the disappearance with the Alabama Bureau of Investigation’s Center for Missing and Exploited Children, state police, police departments and sheriff’s departments in Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana.

Thomas and his staff are also talking to family and friends of the teenagers to try to gather more information about a possible location where they may be.

"We want anyone with any information on this to come forward," Thomas said. "Any information, old or new about where they could be would be helpful. We want to encourage anyone with knowledge that may be fhelpful to us to contact a law enforcement agency. This is extremely important to the kids and to their families."

Hammond is a white male who is 6 feet 2 inches tall and weighs 200 pounds. He has light brown hair and hazel eyes.

Smith is a white female who is 5 feet 4 inches tall and weighs 130 pounds. She has brown hair and brown eyes.

The phone nuber for the Pike County Sheriff’s Department is 566-4347.