Flanagin’s cell phone possibly found in the Black Pond area

Planning their strategy before Saturday morning's search, from left, Cameron Williams, VET DRTI; Jon Hill, president VET DRTI; Angela Haley Harris, president Aniah's Heart; John Sloan, VP of VET DRTI: Emily Stewart, VET DRTI; Misty Hughes, Shane Hughes, Aniah's Heart. At far right is Winston County Sheriff's Investigator Josh Bennett.

WINSTON COUNTY        -   A damaged cell phone found in a wooded area believed to belong to missing Double Springs man Joshua Flanagin brought two well-known state organizations to a wooded area at the end of County Road 8 for a search operation Saturday, June 17.
Efforts are underway to locate two Winston County residents reported missing between June 1-6 - Flanagin and Jaqleen Amber Grimes, also of Double Springs.
Aniah’s Heart, a non-profit search organization started by Angela Harris, whose daughter, Aniah Blanchard was murdered in 2020, came to Winston County Saturday, June 17, as well the VET DRTI organization, comprised of retired military personnel, to assist  local and area law enforcement in the search for Flanagin.
Searches have been ongoing the past several days with all leads investigated regarding the disappearance of Joshua Chester Flanagin, 36, and Jaqleen Amber Grimes, 33, both of Double Springs, each reported missing about five days apart.
Grimes was last seen June 1, on Highway 195 in the Black Pond area, and is believed to have gotten into an unidentified vehicle with an unknown male, according to Winston County Sheriff Caleb Snoddy.
 Flanagin--who was last seen by family members around 3:30 p.m. June 6, is believed to have a condition that impairs his judgment.  He was last seen possibly walking on Highway 195 north of Double Springs around County Road 6, wearing a teal colored T-shirt and blue jeans, Sheriff Snoddy noted.
“He may have been seen entering a maroon car, but unknown make or model,” Snoddy said.
Flanagin was later spotted by a motorist on foot in the area of County Road 8 in Black Pond, wearing the same clothing as when he was first possibly seen, according to law enforcement officials.
Flanagin has been described as five feet, seven inches in height, weighing 180 pounds with brown eyes and black hair.
Grimes has been described as five feet, two inches in height, weighing 110 pounds with brown eyes and brown hair.
The sheriff’s office has been vigilant, along with family members of the missing persons as well as volunteers and other law enforcement in conducting extensive searches for Flanagin in the Black Pond area, where he was officially last seen on County Road 8, as well as following all leads regarding Grimes, Snoddy said.
Leads regarding both missing persons have been chased down, but as of press time Monday, June 19, had not yielded any results, sheriff’s officials said.
“Earlier this week, we got a tip that he was observed in the Black Pond area,” Snoddy stated. “He was possibly seen on foot.”
The motorist who passed by and possibly saw Flanagin, notified his family members, but did not stop the vehicle, authorities said.
“Since that time, there have been foot searches,” said Snoddy. “We’ve been through neighborhoods and residences speaking with people. We’ve looked in the woods.”
Assisting local agencies and volunteers in the search have been a drone flown over the area by the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency which is designed to show any infrared activity, sheriff’s officials said.
Haleyville Police have also assisted in the searches in the Black Pond area with their drone, according to sheriff’s officials.
So far, 150-200 acres and about a 3-4-square mile span have been searched in  Black Pond, according to sheriff’s officials.
Debbie Flanagin, Joshua’s mother, as well as other family members were on the scene of the search Saturday.
Debbie recalled that she last talked to her son on June 6, with security surveillance footage from her residence showing him leaving on foot around 3:37 p.m.
“You could see him walking down the driveway,” Debbie said.  “That’s the last time I saw him.”
Debbie paused, choking back the tears,  as another family member said, “We just hope he’s alive.”
When talking about Joshua’s phone being found damaged in the woods, his mother added that wherever her son went, his phone was always with him.

Grimes’ whereabouts sought

Concerning the searches for Grimes, there have been several search warrants executed, according to Snoddy.
Grimes was reportedly last seen in the Double Springs area and, according to family members,  was last seen by a male who informed the family she left his house at 10:42 p.m. on June 1.
“It’s unlike her not to make contact with her family,” read a post from AWARE Foundation, Inc. and confirmed by the sheriff’s office. “They are concerned for her well-being.”
“We have followed up on multiple leads and sources,” Snoddy pointed out.
Concerning the missing person cases, Snoddy further stated, “I have no reason to believe that either one of these individuals is connected at all.”
Law enforcement have followed up on leads that Grimes was possibly seen with different people known to be her acquaintances, at convenient stores out of the county, Snoddy stated.
“As far as Amber Grimes, there has been only one potential sighting,” Snoddy noted. “The rest of them have been our footwork, as far as old acquaintances or people she may have stayed with before or may have known.
“Anything that has come in about her, we have made a point to get on,” Snoddy pointed out, adding the area where she was last seen has also been thoroughly searched.
“Our heart goes out to the families of the missing persons.  We want them to know we are doing our absolute best to recover their loved ones and get them home as soon as possible,” Snoddy said.
“We’ll follow every lead and chase everywhere (they might be) until they are found,” Sheriff’s Office Investigator Josh Bennett added.
Those who have seen either of these individuals, or who may have more information on their whereabouts, are urged to contact the Winston County Sheriff’s Office at (205) 489-2115 or call 9-1-1.

See complete story in the Northwest Alabamian.
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