The search continues for a missing man, Chad Tompkins, 47, of Emerson.
Tompkins’ sister, Christian Tompkins said her brother, has been missing since Thursday, September 30. He was last seen at his home. He is described as a white male of average build and being 5 feet, 10 inches tall.
“The (Columbia County) Sheriff’s Office is still helping and doing what they can, but there just aren’t any tracks or leads or anything,” she said. “Somebody must have something to say. I want an answer,” she said. “I feel like someone has to know something.”
On Thursday, October 7, Columbia County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Doug Wood said a search has been going on for four days, but when the department was first notified, they could not use search dogs because of the time they were notified and the rainy weather.
Wood said Chad Tompkins’ father, Wayne Tompkins, said his son lives with him and his wife, Vicki Tompkins, southwest of Emerson.
Wayne Tompkins was Columbia County Sheriff from 1997-2001.
Christian Tompkins said her father found clothing belonging to her brother on the side of the road between the family’s home and U.S. 79 in Emerson.
Wood said the sheriff’s department have used several tracking tools to search for Chad Tompkins but have found nothing linking Chad Tompkins to any area so far.
“We have used all-terrain vehicles, we have been walking, we have been looking on old deer stands, and we have droned over areas and things like that,” Wood said.
On Friday, October 8, Columbia County Sheriff Mike Loe said the search continues but at this point no one knows the location of Chad Tompkins.
“We are trying to exhaust every possible place to look and mostly trying to contact people and interview people who might know something,” he said.
Christian Tompkins, one of the Tompkins’ four children and closest in age to Chad Tompkins, said some people might wonder why the family did not call she sheriff’s office earlier, but her brother has wandered off before. In 2018, he left Emerson and made it to Magnolia somehow and was gone for two days. He also wandered off another time, she said.
She said her brother had experienced a head injury at a well site in 2017.
The explosion burnt his clothing and the blast sent him backward where he fell on his head. She said no workman’s compensation was ever filed by the company who she declined to name and that her brother’s problems mental health, other than occasional depression, came after the incident.
“He seemed to get worse that summer and was diagnosed with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder,” she said.
These mental disorders require medication to control and Christian Tompkins -- a nurse since 2007 -- said the family was having trouble getting her brother’s medicine until Thursday, the day he disappeared. She said she was looking for him Friday to give him his medicine.
The week before she could tell her brother needed the medication as he was not able to dress himself properly, she said.
“He’s not a friend who could just stay at your house. He’s not like that. He requires a lot of medical attention,” she said. “When he got lost the last time -- this is different. I don’t know. If I knew I would look,” she said. “This isn’t like him. He’s not in his right mind.”
Another important thing for the public to remember if they see her brother is he is likely not going to look like his picture that is posted by the Sheriff’s Office. When his mental health declines, he does not groom himself and is likely to have a beard and look unkept.
She also theorizes that her brother would not walk deeply into the woods. This was something she never knew him to do, even when she and he would hunt together.
“He wouldn’t have gone somewhere in the woods where you couldn’t see. He is like a scaredy cat -- he wouldn’t have done anything like that.”
She said she does not want people to be frightened of her brother, because despite having disabilities, he is a good person who is kind.
“He’s a kind gentle soul, he wouldn’t hurt anyone. He would give you the shirt off his back if he thought that would help you,” she said. “He’s a very passive person, not controversial and very loving.”
Chad Tompkins loved to fish and grew up on Highway 344 in Magnolia. He was a 1993 graduate of Magnolia High School, she said. He also loved playing with his nieces and nephews as he was a very loving uncle.
“We want to thank everyone for their help, prayers, and support,” she said. “We would like to ask for everyone to please, if they hear anything, let us know,” she said. “I don’t know whether to grieve or get mad. If he comes home, I’m going to whip his tail because this has been excruciating. This feeling of helplessness.”
To report anything relevant to this disappearance, call the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office at 870-234-5331.