Search still on for missing Boligee man

Published 6:19 pm Friday, December 9, 2011

The search continues for a Boligee man who was last seen eight days ago in Demopolis.

Corey Murphy was last seen at the Alabama State Barbecue Competition in Demopolis Friday night. The truck in which he was last seen driving was found disabled Tuesday near the Greene and Sumter county lines.

The Demopolis Police Department has aided officers from around the region in the search and a dog team from Huntsville arrived earlier this week.

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HEMSI Search Dog Unit, a volunteer K9 search team, combed the area Thursday.

“They came without hesitation, no regard for the rain and cold and did a very tedious job of searching for (Corey),” said Melanie Murphy York, Corey’s mother. “They did not give up until they knew without a doubt that they had done all they had been trained to do and the dogs had done all they were trained to do.”

HEMSI Chief Chip Laymon said his team spent the day combing the home and the area the truck was found in search of scents and clues.

“There was some concern that, given the area where the truck was found, that he might have fallen off the bluff and into the river,” Laymon said of a search that didn’t produce any positive trails or results. “The dogs didn’t find a trail indicating he went in that direction, and we also searched the water with the dogs and the boats have sonar, and we didn’t come up with anything.”

Laymon said trails found leading up to and from a home led dogs on a winding nearly 3-mile-long trail from the truck, to the home, from the home, through the woods, back to the road and through a field. While investigators were not able to come up with the whereabouts of their target, they did walk away with a positive result.

“We felt comfortable that he was alive, at least as of (Thursday), but was on the lam,” Laymon said.

Jason Pendergrass, who manages the Demopolis Airport, also flew over the area earlier this week.

York said she printed 200 flyers to hand out and has asked several businesses to post them in their windows hoping that will lead someone to Corey’s whereabouts.

“Somebody out there – in my mother’s intuition, I feel like – somebody out there knows something, somebody, or somewhere,” she said, “but we don’t know who that somebody is.”

York, who said her son once darted off to Pennsylvania to meet a girl, described her son as a free spirit and fears that he may feel like he can’t come home right now given the scope of the search.

“(I want him to know) that I love him and that no matter how bad things may seem, that it’s not as bad as all that,” she said. “I think Corey thinks he’s in some serious trouble, and he’s not and he doesn’t know that.”

HEMSI is largely funded by donations. Donations can be mailed to Chief Chip Laymon, HEMSI Search Dog Unit, Post Office Box 7108, Huntsville, AL 35807