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By Chloe Morrison
Sam Parker said he's been unfairly targeted in the investigation into the disappearance of his wife, Walker County 911 dispatcher Theresa Parker.
"Everything I've ever said has been swept under the carpet and me made the bad guy," he said this week in an interview with the Chattanooga Times Free Press.
Mr. Parker said he and his wife were divorcing when she last was seen March 21 as she left her sister's home. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation has named Mr. Parker, a former LaFayette, Ga., police officer, as a "person of interest" in the case. His friend and former co-worker Harbin "Ben" Chaffin has been charged with four felonies related to the investigation.
Mr. Parker said he wants to find his wife and hopes she is safe.
"This is still hurting everybody that is involved with it," Mr. Parker said. "My family loved Theresa. My dad referred to her as his daughter."
Hilda Wilson, the missing woman's sister, said she believes Mr. Parker played a role in his wife's disappearance. Mrs. Wilson said she plans to hold a memorial for her sister on the first anniversary of her disappearance.
"We know she is gone," Mrs. Wilson said. "Whether he is arrested, charged (or) convicted, we know she is gone. She deserves a memorial service."
Walker County Sheriff Steve Wilson said Thursday the investigation is "still active and ongoing." But when Rome Judicial Circuit District Attorney Leigh Patterson was assigned the case, she instructed authorities not to talk about it.
Mr. Parker said he believes some leads in the case weren't followed.
"They focused solely on me from the beginning ... There is so much more to it than people know," he said, declining to elaborate.
Mr. Parker said his wife had been acting strangely before her disappearance. Her behavior had "deviated so badly" he thought she was having an affair, and he was "wanting to know who she was talking to," he said.
Mr. Parker said he asked Mr. Chaffin to look into Mrs. Parker's e-mail. That is the basis for most of the charges against Mr. Chaffin, according to the indictments. Those charges include tampering with evidence, providing false information and computer invasion of privacy, records show.
Meanwhile, Mrs. Wilson said a reward fund has grown to about $7,100, not counting Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue's promised $1,000 contribution.
E-mail Chloe Morrison at email@example.com