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WITHOUT A TRACE: Dozens of East Texans missing with no evidence left behind

Over the last 15 years, dozens of people have disappeared. Rusk County Sheriff Jeff Price says many of them vanished "without a trace."

TEXAS, USA — Kim Flint, Shirley Hunt and Jimmy Tidwell are just a few of the people who are missing in East Texas. 

Credit: KYTX

Over the last 15 years, dozens of people have disappeared. 

Rusk County Sheriff Jeff Price says it is like they vanished "without a trace."

Rusk County has one of the highest numbers of missing persons with eight unsolved cases since 2014.

Sheriff Price explains this does not just happen in Rusk County. 

"I think most people will be shocked at the number of people that are actually missing, active open missing person cases in the East Texas area," Sheriff Price said. 

Credit: KYTX

Many of go missing with no body, no suspect and practically no evidence, as they disappear from country roads and highways across the region.


One of the more recent cases in Rusk County is the disappearance of Kim Flint almost nine months ago. 

RELATED: The search for answer and missing Rusk Co. woman continues

RELATED: MISSING: After more than 170 days son refuses to give up search for missing mom

Credit: KYTX

"We located her vehicle that was involved in a wreck, one vehicle wreck on a bridge," Sheriff Price explained. 

He also mentioned they didn't start working it as a missing persons case until hours later, because wrecks along that road are DPS territory. It became a missing persons case once her family called it in. 

Sheriff Price explains his deputies and others have searched hundreds of acres multiple times trying to find even the slightest hint of where Kim went or what happened to her. 

"She was just wasn't there," Kim's son, James Flint said. "My mom is somewhere, something happened to her." 

"That area down there where she came up missing has been searched probably 20 times or more with everything from horseback to drones, helicopters to multiple sets of dogs," Sheriff Price explained. "Track dogs bloodhounds, cadaver dogs, just every kind of a track dog that you can think of in that whole area has been covered multiple times. Never came up with any anything."

Due to not being able to discover anything in the woods surrounding the roadway, they believe she was picked up by someone. 

A witness believes he saw her speaking with someone in a white pickup truck.

"If she got to ride with that guy in a truck, whether it was a Good Samaritan just giving her a ride to a different location, or whether it was somebody that picked her up and took her off," Sheriff Price said. "We don't know."

The sheriff's office is hoping the driver of that truck will come forward with more information.


Another woman in Rusk County disappeared off another county road years before Kim did. 

In June 2017, Shirley Hunt went for a walk and never returned. 

Credit: KYTX

"It was like, she made it to that one spot and then disappeared," Sheriff Price explained. 

"Saw her when they(students) were getting off school bus and then she went around the corner and another man saw her. And that's the last anybody ever saw her," Shirley's husband, Bobby Hunt, explained.

Its something he thinks about every day. 

"We actually had a helicopter out, we had trackers out, we had several K-9 units that were out," Price, who was not sheriff at the time of Shirley's disappearance, said about the search. "Everybody tracked her back to a specific spot and then at that one spot, we lost her."

She was never seen again. 

"You never get over it. If you could just find out what happened you know, I think I can get over it but like it is, I just can't get over it," Bobby said as he described the heartache he still feels regarding her disappearance.

Like Kim Flint, they believe she got into someone else's car. 


That beings us to Jimmy Tidwell.

RELATED: Crimestoppers increases reward for missing man James "Jimmy" Tidwell

RELATED: Rusk County man still missing

Years later, Lynn Akin, Jimmy Tidwell's sister, still checks in with the sheriff's office about his disappearance. 

Credit: KYTX

His little sister says, without a shadow of a doubt, there is no way he would have disappeared willingly. 

Due to discrepancies in people's stories, all that is known about his case is that he left work and never returned. 

During a search for Jimmy, they located his truck on the corner of State Highway 315 and Highway 95. 

"We found his truck, we've never found him," Sheriff Price said. "So we have no clue what could have happened to him at that point."

The truck showed no signs of foul play. 

"I'm still looking, Lynn said. "I'm still waiting on answers."

While questions remain, Lynn says she does not believe Jimmy is alive. 

When he disappeared she believed he was already dead due to how close the siblings were.

"I didn't believe it from the beginning, he didn't just vanish willingly," Lynn said.

People have asked questions as to why certain steps and measures have not been taken in the cases, and while Sheriff Price wishes he could do more, there are certain rules in place. 

"It's not illegal to be missing," Sheriff Price explained. 

That means if there are no signs of foul play, they cannot send anything off to be analyzed at a lab. They have to go off of witness testimony and information from loved ones. 

So in the days, months and years that follow they re-canvas the area, talk to family and reach out to possible witnesses hoping someone might remember even the most minute detail.

"It's hard to believe of somebody, but you know we've had several people in Rusk County that have disappeared," Bobby Hunt said, "She's [Shirley] just one of several."

Kim Flint, Shirley Hunt, and Jimmy Tidwell are just three names out of more than 50 people that have gone missing in East Texas over the last 15 years. 

More than 1,000 people are missing in Texas at this time. 

CBS19 combed through national records, state databases and have collected information from local authorities to get an idea of exactly how many East Texans have disappeared in the last 15 years.

The following are the names we have collected:

Angelina County:

  • Christine Elizabeth Rawlinson
  • Sheila Morton 
  • Thomas Pittman
  • Jesse Lee Freeman

RELATED: Mother of missing ETX woman: "If this is her then God has answered our prayers"

Cass County:

  • Eric "Slow" Alvarado
  • Donnie Combs & Cynthia Arnold (went missing together)

RELATED: ETX police department asking public for help finding missing man

Gregg County:

  • Anthony Lyrone Lee
  • David Michael Martin
  • Erin Raquel Martinez
  • Brandi Ellen Wells

RELATED: Harrison Co. officials searching for missing teen

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Harrison County:

  • Harry Edward Stewart
  • Hartford Hunter Dunn
  • Beverly Loftin Meadows

Henderson County:

  • Heather Danielle Cannon
  • Veronica Gallegos

Houston County:

  • John Allen Giddens

Nacogdoches County:

  • Justin Kyle Ferrell
  • Gregoria Jacobo Martinez
  • Centrella Chimney

Panola County: 

  • Lauren Thompson

RELATED: Panola County Sheriff's Office still searching for missing woman

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Rains County:

  • Larry Joles Culberson

Rusk County:

  • Antoinette Renee Childress
  • Shirley Mae Hunt
  • James (Jimmy) Lamar Tidwell
  • Kim Flint

RELATED: Crimestoppers increases reward for missing man James "Jimmy" Tidwell

RELATED: Rusk County Authorities seek public's help in locating missing person

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Shelby County:

  • Cole Duane Jackson

RELATED: Remembering a missing East Texan

Smith County:

  • Kimberly Ann Marshall
  • Steven Miller Fliesher
  • Johnny William Franklin
  • Gustavo Valdovinos
  • Jarrod Birdwell

RELATED: Family of missing Tyler man: "Come back, Please!"

RELATED: Tyler PD needs help in locating missing person

Wood County:

  • Marquita Leanna Gutierrez

RELATED: Wood County asks for help in locating missing woman

If you have a loved one who has gone missing in East Texas within the last 15 years, please reach out to CBS19's Darcy Birden at dbirden@cbs19.tv to have them added to the list.