Published 12:00 am Sunday, August 29, 1999
located in Texas
By AMY S. LANSDON
Published Aug. 29, 1999
The two missing teens from Pike County have been found and will be returned home today.
Jaclyn Smith, 16, of Brundidge, and Stan Hammond, 16, of Troy, left Pike County together in the early morning hours on July 31 in Hammond’s 1995 green Ford Mustang, said Pike County Sheriff Russell Thomas.
Smith is the daughter of Diane and Gene Smith of Brundidge. Hammond is the son of Stan Hammond and Scarlett Hammond, both of Troy.
Thomas reported Smith and Hammond were located in Lake Jackson, Texas, about 60 miles south of Houston, late Friday evening.
Prior to locating the teens, there were reported sightings of the two on Interstate 10 near Biloxi, Miss. on August 3, and the two were placed in the Alexandria, La. area on August 8 due to calls made from a cellular phone. But until they were found, there were no reported sightings or contacts with family members or friends.
When the youth were reported missing the sheriff’s department began investigating the case, and eventually launched a nation-wide search for the teens. Thomas said they stepped up investigations in Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana, but did not have any leads until the call from Texas.
"The car was stopped by the Lake Jackson Police Department, and when they ran the tag they got a hit on the vehicle and the missing teens," said Thomas. "The Lake Jackson police took them into custody until they were transferred to a juvenile holding facility."
Two deputies from the Pike County Sheriff’s Department left early Saturday morning to retrieve the teens from the Texas juvenile facility and are expected to return home later today. Thomas said Lake Jackson is about a 10 or 12 hour drive and he didn’t want the deputies to have to drive that far and turn around and come right back.
"Once we get them (Smith and Hammond) back here we’ll know more about what they’ve been doing," said Thomas.
Jaclyn’s mother was grateful to the sheriff’s department and that her daughter and Hammond were both safe.
"We are very proud of the sheriff’s deaprtment for the fine job it has done," said Mrs. Smith. "They have spent many hours on this case and have kept me informed during their investigation.
"We are very thankful to the Lord that they have been found and that they are safe. Knowing she is okay makes me feel wonderful."
Mrs. Smith said the time her daughter was missing was emotional and stressful for her and her family, but knowing she is safe has brought a smile back to her face.
"Prior to them being found I went to bed blue and woke up blue," she said. "Now I can finally walk around with a smile on my face.
"I know we still have a long road ahead of us and there are a lot of adjustments to make, but the Lord will see us through."
The Pike County Sheriff’s Department worked 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. Family and friends of the teenagers also cooperated with the sheriff’s department.
"We want to thank everyone for all their help with this case," said Thomas.