Searchers fear missing man met with foul play

Posted on 23 Aug 2007 at 7:07pm
By David Webb Staff Writer

Gay Madison County resident’s car found burned



Jimmy Martin

A search is under way for a missing gay Madison County resident whom investigators fear may have been a victim of violence.

Jimmy Martin, 33, was last seen in his hometown of Normangee on Aug. 6. His burned-out car was found two days later in Centerville, which is in the neighboring county of Leon.

Madison County Deputy Sheriff Paul Cannon said Martin’s mother reported him missing. There is no evidence as to what happened to Martin, Cannon said.

“Right now, we don’t have any clues,” Cannon said. “We’re just not getting any tips whatsoever.”

Cannon said Leon County officials are also involved in the search for Martin because they believe his car was used to run over a woman before it was burned in their county.

“As far as his whereabouts, or what has happened to him, we really don’t know,” Cannon said. “There is a possibility of foul play.”

Frank Black, search organizer for Texas EquuSearch, said he fears the worst has happened to Martin.

The group, which is a mounted search and recovery team that operates a Web site dedicated to missing people, has unsuccessfully searched for Martin for three days.

“A whole compilation of different things we’ve put together makes us think we’ve got a real serious matter here,” Black said.

Although Martin’s disappearance is still a mystery, Black said he believes it is probably a result of a hate crime.

Martin was seen with a group of people before his disappearance, but someone else was driving his car, he said.

“In my personal opinion that’s probably what happened,” Black said. “I don’t think there would be any other explanation.”

Black said he met with a longtime friend of Martin’s and the missing man’s mother before starting the search. The search is being conducted in farmland, he said.

“There’s a lot of woods and lakes and ponds,” Black said.

“It’s sort of a dangerous area, with snakes and alligators.”

The area is in Southeast Texas on I-45 between Dallas and Houston, about 100 miles from Houston.

Sally Huffer, community project specialist for the Montrose Counseling Center in Houston, said she was recently contacted by Texas EquuSearch.

Huffer said the Montrose Counseling Center was asked for help in reporting Martin’s disappearance because he is gay.

“He was known to frequent places in Houston,” Huffer said.

Black said the search has been temporary halted.

“We’ve kind of come to a dead end,” Black said.

“We’re not stopping the search. We’re temporary halting it until we come up with some more information. We may never find him without the right information.”

Black said law enforcement officials have welcomed his organization’s help, and the owners of the farmland have assisted them in the search.

“I understand he was real well liked in that town,” Black said.

Martin is 5-foot-8, 155 pounds, with red hair and green eyes.

Information about his whereabouts can be given by calling 877-270-9500 or by e-mail info@texasequusearch.org.

E-mail webb@dallasvoice.com

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 24, 2007

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