Marion County officials seek leads on missing man

Marion County officials seek leads on missing man

August 16th, 2012 by Ben Benton in News

Roger Tant, 54, was last seen before March 10, 2012. His home is at 423 Hewgleys Road, South Pittsburg, Tenn.

Roger Tant, 54, was last seen before March...

Illustration by Laura McNutt /Times Free Press.

There are no new leads in the search for longtime South Pittsburg, Tenn., resident Roger Tant, who hasn't been seen since March, Marion County authorities say.

"We're working with TBI, and we haven't received any leads. We've done some ground searches out there but we didn't find anything," Marion County Sheriff Ronnie "Bo" Burnett said Wednesday.

Authorities have not ruled out foul play but are pursuing the case with that in mind, Burnett said. The sheriff said family and friends of Roger Tant say he would not "just walk away" without notice.

Tant, 54, has been missing since March 10.

His wife, Patricia, never reported her husband missing, police said. In fact, Roger Tant was not reported missing to authorities until his sister, Connie Case, was unable to locate him starting in May. Case unsuccessfully tried to reach her brother on his cell phone and on his home phone, she said in July. She reported him missing June 28.

Patricia Tant told investigators early on that she last spoke to Roger Tant by phone on March 10 but gave no reason for not having reported him missing, Marion County detective Matt Blansett said in July.

Burnett said Patricia Tant since has retained a lawyer, though she has not been charged or named a suspect.

Lawyer J. Chris Helton, with the law office of Mitchell Aaron Byrd in Chattanooga, sent the sheriff's office a faxed notice that he now was representing Patricia Tant, Blansett said Wednesday.

Helton is working out of town this week, according to his office, and could not be reached for comment. A person at Helton's office said they were aware that Helton had spoken with Patricia Tant but could not confirm whether Helton was retained.

Blansett said investigators have been trying to piece together information from interviews with friends, family and folks who raise game chickens. Roger Tant had numerous game chickens in pens behind the Tants' Hewgleys Road home, although many of the pens now are gone.

"We've checked with a lot of people who raise game chickens but no one has had contact with him," he said.

Meanwhile, authorities ask anyone with information on Roger Tant's whereabouts to call the Marion County Sheriff's Office at 423-942-2525 or the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation at 1-800-824-3463 (1-800-TBI-FIND).