Local man, 91, said couple helped him withdraw $6,000 to make ‘a new start’

Found in Seagoville following possible abduction report, man says he left of his own free will

From Staff Reports

Jan 3, 2008 - Some might think that a middle aged woman who assisted a 91-year-old man in withdrawing $6,000 from his account is up to no good.

But this senior citizen, reported missing by his family Wednesday, said nothing of the sort happened. He told authorities that the man, who’d been staying on his property, and woman were simply helping him get the money to help him make “a new start,” investigators said this morning.

The 91-year-old man’s children contacted authorities at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, reporting that they believed he’d been abducted from his FM 3134 residence by a couple. The man and woman reportedly took him to his bank in Commerce, where he obtained a $6,000 traveler’s check. Bank personnel then contacted his family, as they normally do when the man appears in person to make a transaction. 

The man’s children then contacted Hopkins County Sheriff’s Sgt. Toney Hurley and Lt. Henry Turner, expressing concern for their father’s well-being and indicating that he suffers from some form of dementia.

Local authorities were able to pull surveillance video of the woman in the bank and obtain other information, including a license plate number for the vehicle the three left the CR 2134 residence in. Investigators also learned of a connection between the woman and the man, who had been allowed to in a barn on the senior citizen's property the past two weeks.

Still acting on the assumption the man had been abducted, the Texas Ranger for this area was contacted. A bulletin was put out to all law enforcement agencies in the region to be on the lookout for the trio in the silver Ford Focus, including Seagoville, where the woman has ties, according to HCSO investigators.

Seagoville police located the woman and, through her, the elderly man, who was found in a hotel in “good condition,” then notified HCSO that the man had been located.

But when Hopkins County sheriff’s investigators talked to the man, he told them definitively that he left of his “own free will.” He also indicated the money would go toward plane fare out of the state, where he plans “a new start.”

The man’s children were contacted at 2:30 Thursday morning and told of his whereabouts. They spent many hours trying, unsuceesfully, to retrieve him from the hotel in Seagoville.

Sheriff’s investigators said that, legally, they could not force the man to return home, as they have been presented with no legal evidence the man suffers from any medical ailments that would necessitate doing so. 

His family members have reportedly contacted an attorney regarding  “power of attorney” paperwork to enable them to make important decision for the 91-year-old man — including making him come home.

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