WAXAHACHIE — Efforts by police officers, firefighters, family members and volunteers on Saturday to locate a missing 79-year-old Waxahachie resident were unsuccessful over the weekend.
Laverne Berry was first reported missing from his home in the 400 block of Wyatt Street near downtown Waxahachie at about 5 a.m. Monday, Aug. 7 by his wife, Carolyn.
“We had a group of about 20 family members and police officers search areas [Saturday] morning, starting near his home and working outward. There are a lot of green belts and vacant lots in the area that we wanted to look in,” Waxahachie Police Lt. Todd Woodruff said. “We plotted out about ten areas that we set out to search (and) we got them covered with the volunteer’s assistance. Looking at the neighborhood on a satellite map it appeared an easy task, but when you’re out there actually walking it, you realize the enormity of it. Mr. Berry’s extended family was a tremendous help.”
Woodruff stated that Waxahachie Police have followed up on several leads from residents who thought they encountered Berry. One resident even told police they believed to have spoken to Berry near the hike-and-bike trail where it crosses Matthews Street.
“The caller was pretty sure that Mr. Berry was the person they spoke to but our officers didn’t find anything when they checked that area,” Woodruff said previously.
Waxahachie Police Chief Wade Goolsby still encourages residents to come forward with any information, as it becomes available.
“Right now we don’t have any particular area to search. That is one of the challenges. If someone comes across him, call that police agency. Preferably stay there with him until we can get there. I know the family is frantic and we are doing everything that we can. We really just don’t have much to go on. So anyone that has information, please give us a call," Goolsby said.
"We have been getting calls, but nothing has panned out so far."
Goolsby also advises any parties who take it upon themselves to search for Berry to remain in a group, tell others of the location where they are searching, bring plenty of water to stay hydrated and, if they find Berry, contact police immediately.
According to a release previously issued by the Waxahachie Police Department, members of the Mark 9 Search-and-Rescue team deployed a canine unit to conduct an open-air search at about 5 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 9 in an attempt to locate Berry. Those efforts were unsuccessful.
The Texas Department of Public Safety initially issued a statewide silver alert for Berry at 4:07 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 8 and expired Tuesday, Aug. 15 just after 6 p.m.
Waxahachie Police Department Det. Casey Borders stated that Berry left his residence on foot wearing blue jeans and a long sleeve maroon and beige colored shirt. Berry has a full gray beard.
According to the FBI website, as of Dec. 31, 2016, the NCIC database contained 88,040 active missing person records.
Berry’s sister-in-law, Peggy Davis, stated the family has talked with Berry’s friends, visited places he frequented and looked for him in neighboring cities, such as Italy.
Davis describes her brother-in-law as a very approachable and talkative person with a big smile. She added Berry has a slim build, stands about 5-foot-8 and is between 180 – 200 pounds.
People who have information about Berry’s whereabouts are to contact Borders at the police department or to contact the law enforcement agency in their area. Borders can be reached the at the police department at 469-309-4441. The Waxahachie Police Department is located at 216 N. College St. in downtown Waxahachie.