By Chloe Morrison
LAFAYETTE, Ga. -- The family of missing Walker County 911 dispatcher Theresa Parker said Monday they are still living a "nightmare," but they trudge on, taking their search for new leads into cyberspace and boosting a reward for her recovery.
Nearly three months after Mrs. Parker's March 21 disappearance, friends and family have developed a new Web site that has basic information about the case and which can receive online donations to add to the reward fund.
Meanwhile, investigating authorities are restricted in what they can say about the case, but Sheriff Steve Wilson pledged the probe is "very much active."
The site is designed by the staff of Chattanooga news Web site, nooga.com. More sections, which are currently under construction or being developed.
Nearly $8,000 has been donated to the reward fund, but Mrs. Parker's sister, Christina Hall, said that isn't enough. The family believes that a larger reward will entice someone with information to come forward, they said.
"It is very sad to say, but money talks," Mrs. Hall said. "We truly feel that someone has to know something or may have seen something. So if that person is out there somewhere listening, please help us bring our sister home."
Gov. Sonny Perdue donated $1,000 to the fund, and family said they wish he would give more.
In their quest for reward money, the family said they learned an interesting fact.
Two days before she went missing, Mrs. Parker purchased a washer and dryer on her credit card from a home improvement store.
The family members have been trying to get the money from that purchase refunded from Lowe's Home Improvement Warehouse to add to the reward fund, but Lowe's officials said that is against store policy.
"The fact is we don't have any information from law enforcement about the location of this missing person," said Lowe's spokeswoman Chris Ahearn. "In the absence of information, we've got to follow our return policy."
Mrs. Parker has been missing since March 21. She was in the midst of a divorce from former LaFayette police officer, Sam Parker, when she disappeared. The Georgia Bureau of investigation has named Mr. Parker a "person of interest" in the case.
Mr. Parker was fired for having explosives in his locker, and although officials said his dismissal had nothing to do with Mrs. Parker, they said the explosives might not have been discovered if they weren't searching for clues to her disappearance.
For the most part, Mr. Parker has not talked to the media. His sister, Carolyn Wooten, gave a statement and declared his innocence, and Mr. Parker told the Times Free Press that authorities have "Wacoed" him throughout the investigation.
Authorities said Mr. Parker has been cooperative, and they have searched his house at least five times.
Mrs. Hall praised the GBI, Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Walker County Sheriff's Department on Monday.
"Although we have not yet brought our sister home, we would like you all to know that there is a group of people working around the clock to try to find her," Mrs. Hall said. "These people are wonderful, and we could never thank them enough for the time and effort they have given."
Sheriff Wilson said although he has been advised by Rome Circuit District Attorney Leigh Patterson not to discuss details of the investigation, hard work is going on outside of the media's eye.
"The investigation is very much active today," Sheriff Wilson said. "It is more active than it has ever been. We are working very aggressively on this investigation."
E-mail Chloe Morrison at firstname.lastname@example.org