(Updated at 4:05 pm after one of the missing women’s body was found.)
There was a foreboding piece of information tucked in a news story on a local radio station’s website on Friday. WGRV 1340 in Greenville ran a story entitled, “Several Missing Women Reported in Area Counties.” The article discussed the recent disappearance of three ladies in the region and multiple reports during the same time period of an unmarked red Ford Mustang posing as a police officer, attempting to pull over drivers using a red light. While there is no evidence connecting the two incidents or even proving the reports, the Newport police do have identification on the driver.
Local news outlets have covered the disappearance of 24-year-old Inesha Nicole Haygood in Morristown, 42-year-old Lora Hale Costner in Cocke County and 29-year-old Melanie Coley in Knox County. (Melanie Colie’s body was found on Saturday, and her cause of death is suspected to be a single car crash. You can read here about that. )All of these disappearances have occurred since Dec. 28. These multiple reports of a car attempting to pull over drivers in Cocke County have not been highly publicized. WNPC in Newport carried a story on Friday in which the Newport Police Chief warned people to be cautious.
“Newport Chief of Police Maurice Shults says the suspect vehicle and driver have been located and identified. ‘ We have not received any information of anyone that has actually been stopped by this vehicle. We are reminding the public to continue to use personal skills to continue to remain safe in all situations.’”
It is quite frightening to think that there could be a connection. Obviously the police have taken the reports seriously enough to get an identity and location on the driver.
There have been urban legend types of things circulating for years on the Internet about various schemes used by criminals to lure unsuspecting motorists to pull over. Usually a visit to the Snopes.com website will show the story to be just that. However, this story has a local angle that is frankly terrifying. The local Topix site has some discussion about this particular story. Although not usually the most factually based comments, Topix may be a resource to follow some of the local people and their observations.
Chief Shults also reminded the public that the Newport Police use blue and red lights on all their units. Motorists are urged to drive to an “occupied public place” to pull over if they have any doubt at all about the identity of the car signaling them to pull over. Be sure and pass this information on to ladies in the affected area to be sure that they are aware of the situation.