“We need help finding out what happened to my nephew, Ray Earl Armstrong.”
That’s the plea from Janice Johnson, two months after the 57-year-old Palmer and Waxahachie resident went missing.
Armstrong was last seen on Aug. 26 in the Palmer, Rockett area of Ellis County, according to the Ellis County Sheriff’s Office in a Sept. 12 press release. The ECSO added that his clothing description was unknown.
Sherry Trull, a sister-in-law to Armstrong’s girlfriend, said she emailed Investigator Brian McIntosh on Sept. 9 with a description of Armstrong’s attire, including surveillance camera footage of him before he disappeared.
The Daily Light obtained two videos showing the 57-year-old in a white baseball cap, orange T-shirt, white pants and red sneakers. Trull said the footage was recorded from her property in Waxahachie where Armstrong was staying after being kicked out of the Palmer home he shared with his girlfriend Deana Shumate.
“We loved Ray and weren't going to see him homeless, so we told him he could stay with us ‘till he got on his feet,” Trull said. “He was going back and forth between our house and Deana’s until his disappearance.”
One of the videos shows Armstrong getting out of a car and into another one. Trull said Armstrong and her husband were on their way to the store when Deana’s black Ford Taurus pulled up.
“He was picked up from my house by Deana, my sister-in-law, at 6:30 p.m. on August 26th to her house in Palmer,” Trull explained. “She claims around 1:00 a.m. on the 27th they got into a physical altercation and he left her house walking.”
Shumate, 51, was booked into jail on Sept. 10 after being arrested and charged with credit/debit card abuse and drug possession. Trull said she turned over the inmate’s cellphone to the ECSO on Sept. 11 after a friend of Shumate’s gave it to her. Shumate has a long rap sheet and was again arrested and charged on Sept. 15 for drug possession.
The Daily Light could not get in touch with Shumate for comment.
Maya Smith, Armstrong's parole officer at the Waxahachie District Parole Office, said he failed to show up for his Sept. 4 parole appointment related to a charge of cocaine possession with intent to deliver.
“I know if he was alive and able, he wouldn't have missed that appointment.” Trull said.
“He was really trying hard to better his life,” Trull added. “He had two jobs.”
Armstrong’s family said he told them days before his disappearance that he had an altercation with a man.
“I spoke to him on the 25th of August. He was telling me about this guy he was into it with, can't remember the name,” said Richard Armstrong, Armstrong’s brother.
“[Ray] called his brother and said that he needed him to come watch his back because he had a fight with a guy,” Johnson said.
Robert Armstrong, another brother, said the man his brother fought with might have had a relationship with Shumate.
“The day before he went missing, he told me about a guy Deana was involved with,” Robert said.
Armstrong's loved ones are pleading for information about their brother and nephew. Armstrong also has a son.
“He is a hard-working person with two jobs and well-liked by everyone… full of life,” Robert shared. “He has everything to live for.”
“We really need the truth of what happened to him,” Johnson pleaded. “We feel in our hearts he is dead.”
Calls by the Daily Light to investigator Brian McIntosh have not been returned, and the ECSO has not made anymore information available at this time.
Anyone with information is asked to contact McIntosh at 972-825-4919.