Thanks to the hard work and determination of the Rusk County Sheriff’s Office, in conjunction with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice’s Beto facility K9 unit, the Rusk County Mounted Patrol, Rusk County Rescue, and the CID and Patrol Division, one missing and possibly endangered area resident has been found and safely hospitalized after a two-day search.

The Rusk County Sheriff’s Office received a call, on the evening of February 28, 2021, for a welfare check on County Road 438. 

The caller advised that his friend was displaying suicidal tendencies and assistance was needed. The individual was identified as James ‘Jamie’ Searcy. 

His vehicle was located in the low-lying areas near County Road 438 and Rusk County units were dispatched quickly to begin a woodland search. Rusk County Sheriff John Wayne Valdez, along with the entire CID division, Patrol Lieutenant, and the newly appointed Chief were on the scene and searched the wooded area until 10 p.m. when the inclement weather became a safety risk for those involved. 

Sheriff Valdez called in reinforcements from TDCJ, whose Beto facility houses and trains a capable K9 tracking unit. 

A command post was initiated and the search resumed in the early morning hours on Monday, March 1. 

“It was a good group effort,” said Valdez, “but the problem we had is that it was flooded and we were running out of time. We returned the next morning when the severe weather broke. Part of the TDCJ K9 unit alerted on his general location and we were able to hear his calls for help soon after.” 

Searcy was safely rescued from the flooded creek beds and transported to UT Health-Henderson for treatment and evaluation. Many members of the RCSO returned to their respective offices in clear need of a fresh change of clothes with the Sheriff himself soaked to the knees. 

Always grateful for the assistance of local and out-of-town law enforcement and first responders, Valdez said, “Thank you to all the first responders for coming out and helping in this search effort.” 


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