Without a Trace: A look into missing person cases - KNOE 8 News; KNOE-TV; KNOE.com |

Without a Trace: A look into missing person cases in the ArkLaMiss

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RICHLAND PARISH, La. (KNOW 8 News) – Thousand of people are reported missing each year. Many are never found and the case goes cold, but for two Richland Parish families, they will never stop searching.

Joshua Berry left his Rayville home for a quick trip to the gas station on the morning of September 13, 2012.

"I called him Josh, unless I was mad at him. Right now I'd called him Joshua Charles," says Lonnie Berry, Joshua's mother.

He was never seen again.

"I never would have thought that day that I would never hear from my husband in four months," says Berry's wife Jessica, "At first I thought I would hear from him by the end of the day, then we found out the his truck was wrecked."

34 year old Joshua Charles Berry was a loving father to two daughters and excited about baby number 3 on the way. On the night of September 13, Berry's truck was found wrecked into the woods on a farm near the Richland-Franklin Parish line. His wallet and cell phone were inside, and the keys were found in the ignition.

Lonnie Berry says it's so out of character for her son, that she suspects foul play. "It wasn't what you'd said really wrecked," says Berry's mother, "It looks like the truck was pulled up in there to be hid, and I don't think Josh did that, I think someone else did that."

Even after an extensive search, no leads, no clues, and no answers have ever been found. Jessica Berry says the search for her husband by Richland Parish Deputies was tool little too late. She says it's Berry's past that affected the search efforts.

"Because he had a drug problem," says Jessica Berry,  "I felt that they didn't do all that they could at first. Now that they do realize that he hasn't talked to any of his family in this long period of time, they do realize there's something wrong but it's too late."

The Berry's have a lot in common with another family, that of Shaun Thornhill, a Mangham man who's been missing for over a year. Both families are searching for the same thing, something that makes sense.

"My big joke is that when I find him I'm going to beat him, I'm going to whop him," says Mendy Roberts.

Roberts has spent the last year trying to keep her spirits lifted, but sometimes it's too hard to hold back the tears.

"We were best friends, I just loved him, he was real protective of me, he didn't want me dating anyone," says Roberts.

Her brother, Shaun Thornhill, was 41 when he was last seen, on January 23, 2012. He worked as a pipeliner for several years, and was looking for new job prospects.

"He was in St. Francisville, so we assumed he was looking for a job on a tug boat," says Roberts.

That's the last his family knew, but his truck was found more than fifty miles away in Natchez, Mississippi. The truck was locked, keys gone, wallet inside.

"Adams County did a little search, then when St. Francisville got it we did a really thorough search."

It was if he simply vanished, without a single piece of evidence left behind. Police in St. Francisville found footage of Thornhill paying for his hotel room, and another glimpse of him at an ATM. The last known sighting of Shaun Thornhill.

The families of these missing men are coping in much different ways.

"I hope that he just ran away, cause I just can't imagine some body hurting him," says Mendy Roberts, while the Lonnie Berry could not imagine her son leaving on his own, "That would never ever cross my mind, never, no."

The pain they feel is the same.

"I get my calendar every Thursday and I write down how long it's been," says Lonnie Berry.

"It's like a nightmare and you just wake up everyday and your eyes open and you just pray its over, it's going to be over, you're going to find some type of closure, hopefully alive," says Mendy Roberts.

For these families and so many others, they aren't able to put together the puzzle of their missing husband and son, brother and friend, because they haven't found any of the pieces.

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