published Saturday, April 12th, 2014

Search revives interest, but no new clues to missing Manchester man

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    Leo Paul Massicotte, who has been missing since July 3, 2011.

A two-day search last week for clues in the 2011 disappearance of a Manchester, Tenn., man on property at Arnold Air Force Base in Coffee County didn't turn up any clues, but authorities hope new attention to the case will generate tips.

Leo Paul Massicotte was last seen July 3, 2011, when his girlfriend dropped him off on Skinner Flat Road in Manchester. He planned to walk to a friend's home on the other side of Arnold Air Force Base and the Arnold Engineering and Development Complex in nearby Hillsboro, according to Manchester police.

He was never seen again.

Massicotte would be 36 now, police records show.

Chief investigator Billy Butler said Friday that about 50 people from state and local law enforcement agencies in Coffee and surrounding counties participated in the search that spread southeast and southwest from Skinner Flat Road onto federal land.

"We looked at the case again with a fresh set of eyes and also with investigator [Butch] Stewart," Butler said. "We rehashed some old interviews and knocked down some old leads, and it took us back to the same place where we always thought he was, where he was last seen."

But two days of searching produced no new evidence, and the case could grow cold again, he said.

Officer Alberto Garza was the initial investigator when Massicotte was reported missing on July 5, 2011, by his sister and mother.

Massicotte's girlfriend, Jessica Amber Poe, told Garza that Massicotte had told her "people were watching them." He had her drop him off about 4:30 p.m. at Skinner Flat Road. He planned to walk several miles south through AEDC's woods east of Interstate 24 to the friend's house on Millerscross Road in Hillsboro, according to the original police report.

Poe told Garza Massicotte "appeared normal" when she dropped him off, but said he could have been taking drugs, according to the report.

With no new clues, Butler said Manchester authorities hope new attention to the case will jog someone's memory.

Anyone with information about Massicotte's disappearance is asked to call chief investigator Butler or investigator Stewart at the Manchester Police Department at 931-728-2099.

Contact staff writer Ben Benton at bbenton@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6569.

about Ben Benton...

Ben Benton is a news reporter at the Chattanooga Times Free Press. He covers Southeast Tennessee and previously covered North Georgia education. Ben has worked at the Times Free Press since November 2005, first covering Bledsoe and Sequatchie counties and later adding Marion, Grundy and other counties in the northern and western edges of the region to his coverage. He was born and raised in Cleveland, Tenn., a graduate of Bradley Central High School. Benton ...

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