The Duncan Banner

March 26, 2013

Vanished

Investigation of Jim Peel continues

Toni Hopper
The Duncan Banner

DUNCAN — It appears that Jim Peel has vanished. Missing since Saturday morning, the man, who was virtually unknown to members of Duncan Police Department, has now become their primary focus.

Peel, 71, who resides in the Stagestand addition in north Duncan, with his wife, Helen, didn’t take any personal belongings with him. Not his cellphone, nor his keys or wallet.

A website and a blog he had created in January are also not online any longer. Peel had some interest in water and xeriscaping, and the impact of drought. The blogspot site’s final entry through a Google cache discovery by The Banner was dated March 4, titled “What is Xeriscape Gardening?”

Many links from the page include drought news, Denver Water Organization, Utah water issues, and links to Waurika Lake, Tulsa District Water Control and even the Duncan “Where Opportunity Meets Success” video by Gossett Productions, posted on You Tube. The video, for those who haven’t seen it, starts out with a man wanting a change.

Could Peel have wanted a change? That’s one of the questions that has investigators busy. At this point, they have no motives for Peel’s sudden disappearance. They are concerned about his safety.

“This was someone totally unknown to us,” said DPD Capt. Jay Evans, who oversees the investigative division. “We don’t even have any theories.”

Peel’s wife last saw him around 8:15 a.m. Saturday before she went to run some errands, said Detective Donny Foraker, who handled the initial investigation over the weekend. She thought her husband was headed to the Chisholm Mall for his daily walk. She came home and discovered his car was at home and thought he was napping. About noon she went in to check on him and found he wasn’t in the home, Foraker said. She later reported his absence to the police department.

A Silver Alert was issued and DPD began searching for Peel, who reportedly does not have mental or medical issues. He was in great shape, said Foraker and Evans, from what they’ve learned during their investigation.

Their biggest concern was that the temperatures were dropping Saturday evening and they were aware he could develop hypothermia if he were out in the cold weather for too long. Assistance was requested from Stephens County Sheriff’s Office and Oklahoma Highway Patrol. They also brought in K-9 units to track for Peel. The search covered 32 square miles, scouring woods, looking in ditches and culverts, but nothing gave any indication that Peel was nearby.

“Our next plan is now doing the investigation and acquainting ourselves with him. This is just kind of an unusual incidence,” Evans said. Investigation includes looking at books Peel may have read, or what might be in the books. “It’s a lot of leg work for us.”

When Evans was asked if Peel owned any guns or if any were missing, he replied, “I can’t go into that right now.”

Evans does not suspect foul play.

“The bottom thing is we don’t know what happened to him. We don’t even have any theories.”

Evans said there did not appear to be any financial or marital problems for the Peels.

His wife called her brother to come and help look for her husband that day before calling the police. When that proved empty, they made the phone call to the police, Evans said. The Peels also have an adult daughter. There had been social media speculation that Mrs. Peel’s brother was either staying or visiting the Peels. Evans said that wasn’t the case.

“She called him (her brother) to come help find him. She’s doing the best she can. You can imagine it’s a bewildering thing.”

DPD plans to resume searching the area today, near the Peel’s home.