QUINLAN, Texas — The family of a 1965 Italy High School graduate, longtime Italy resident and retired Dallas firefighter is asking for any information that may lead investigators to his safe return.
The family first reported Michael Chambers, 70, missing Friday evening when they returned to their Quinlan home that same evening. Quinlan is approximately 16 miles south of Greenville in Hunt County.
In the time since, one of his daughters, Ovilla resident Suzy Losoya, described the scene as “surreal” and the entire situation as “unfathomable.” From helicopters overhead to search teams upwards of 100 people to cars and cameras following along every step of the way, Losoya said the family is praying for someone to come forward with information.
"Right now, I don't know how the community can help other than to share news stories and share social media. Someone had to have seen something. We just need that person who might have seen something to have the contact information for the Hunt County Sheriff's Office,” said Losoya on Wednesday morning. “It might even be somebody who doesn't know it was something that they saw, but just anything, anything out of place could be crucial. Nothing is too small.
“We are just looking for any tips at this point because we are just desperate. That is my dad. That is my kids' Papaw. He is his great-grandson's Papaw. We all want him back. We have to find him. This waiting is just agonizing.”
While attending Italy High School during the early 1960’s, Losoya said her father played football and basketball. The town is also where he would begin to raise his two daughters while commuting to work as a Dallas firefighter. The family also attended First Baptist Church of Italy before Chambers remarried and moved north.
According to a press release issued Saturday, March 11 by the Hunt County Sheriff’s Office, Chambers is described as 6-foot-3, approximately 225 pounds and balding with gray hair. The release also states that the last contact Chambers had with anyone was during a phone call with his wife at approximately 8 a.m. Friday, March 10.
“Upon arriving home at around 7 p.m. [Friday] night, the family called the Sheriff’s Office and reported him missing,” the release states. “Deputies searched the residence and based upon evidence at the scene it is believed that Michael Chambers may be in danger.”
In a phone call Wednesday afternoon, Hunt County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Jeff Haines said Hunt County Sheriff Randy Meeks and Lt. Roger Seals are still leading the search and investigation.
On the night Chambers went missing, Haines said a search was initiated by using a K-9 unit from the Texas Department of Corrections in Bonham, as well as a helicopter from the 18th Division of the Texas Department of Public Safety.
“Nothing was seen that night, but the foliage is relatively thick and might not have picked up on a heat signature,” Haines explained.
He then noted that the because of the lack of evidence currently available, Meeks and Seals decided to organize a centralized search area Wednesday in hopes of either locating Chambers or any evidence that might indicate what led to his disappearance.
"There are no signs of foul play in his house or in his shop area. There is no evidence that he had any mental or medical deficiencies that could explain why he went missing,” Haines said. “We have absolutely no leads on this at this point."
According to Haines, the Texas Rangers and Federal Department of Investigations are also assisting with the search. He also noted that any major updates or breaks in the case would be posted to the Hunt County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page, which can be found by searching “Hunt County Sheriff’s Office.”
Anyone with information on the potential whereabouts of Chambers is encouraged to call the non-emergency line at the Hunt County Sheriff’s Office at (903) 453-6838 or 9-1-1 in the case of an emergency.
The family has also set up a GoFundMe account with all money raised going toward a reward fund for anyone with information that leads to the retired firefighter’s safe return. The page can be found at www.gofundme.com/3ibma3k.
Travis M. Smith, @Travis5mith