SPSO: Effort to find Tony Procell still a "search & rescue" - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

SPSO: Rumors that Procell was found are not true

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Tony Procell, 25 (Source: Jonothon Mitchell) Tony Procell, 25 (Source: Jonothon Mitchell)
Robert Barthelemy remains in custody at the Sabine Parish Detention Center, charged with aggravated kidnapping and home invasion. Robert Barthelemy remains in custody at the Sabine Parish Detention Center, charged with aggravated kidnapping and home invasion.
Missing: Tony Procell, 24 Missing: Tony Procell, 24
Arrested: Robert Barthelemy, 33 (Source: DeSoto Parish Sheriff's Office) Arrested: Robert Barthelemy, 33 (Source: DeSoto Parish Sheriff's Office)

Rumors that the body of Tony Procell has been found are not true, according to Sabine Parish Sheriff's Office spokesman Joe Dewil.

"We did have a report from some volunteers that they had found something that they thought was interesting. When officers got there, it turned out to be an alligator's nest. So anybody that says he has been located, that's a false report."

That was how Dewil began a briefing Friday afternoon on the third day since Procell was discovered missing from his Sabine Parish home. Procell is believed to have been kidnapped from his home at gunpoint on Tuesday by a Natchitoches police officer Robert Barthelemy.

He also said that investigators are following up on tips received in response to a call for information from anyone who may have seen Barthelemy's white 2004 GMC Envoy on Tuesday, between the hours of 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.

Dewil says the search is expected to continue into the weekend, although they will suspend those efforts at night unless new information leads them to a specific location.

Dewil still says this is not being called a recovery effort. While 3 days is a long time to be missing without a trace under these circumstances, Joe Dewil with the Sabine Parish Sheriff's Office says until they receive information or evidence to the contrary, they are acting on the assumption that Procell is alive and their mission is one of search and rescue.

Police say they have found no evidence of Procell in the specific area that Barthelemy reportedly indicated he left him on Tuesday. Search crews came up empty-handed after combing the Longleaf Trail area in the Kisatchie National Forest all day Wednesday.

They spent Thursday and Friday searching "general areas" in Sabine, DeSoto and Natchitoches parishes. Dewil says they still don't want to disclose exactly where they are searching, "so that officers can get there first."

Meanwhile, Barthelemy has stopped cooperating with investigators and has also been charged with home invasion in addition to the aggravated kidnapping charge he was booked in on Tuesday. He remains in custody at the Sabine Parish Detention Center.

Authorities remain tight-lipped about the investigation itself, and any possible motives they may have uncovered. Law enforcement sources have suggested the incident may have stemmed from some ongoing domestic issues involving a woman.

The Louisiana Division of the FBI confirmed Thursday morning that they are aware of the situation and have offered their serves to local law enforcement. So far, they have not been taken up on that offer. The FBI generally does not get involved in kidnapping cases unless the victim is 12 years of age or younger, but spokesperson Mary Beth Romig says they will assist if asked.

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