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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Officers share frustrations of not finding missing persons

Sunday, March 13, 2011

As investigators continue searching for clues to the locations of two area residents recently reported missing, law enforcement officials say they're as frustrated as anyone else at the lack of resolution.

And a man who was last seen over 10 years ago hasn't been forgotten, investigators emphasize.

"I can assure you the Bedford County Sheriff's Department and the others involved -- the Shelbyville Police Department, Rutherford County Sheriff's Department and TBI -- are putting out 110 percent effort," Sheriff Randall Boyce said.

Boyce's force is taking the lead in attempts to locate Shelley Mook, a Harris Middle School teacher who was last seen Feb. 28 when she dropped off her daughter at her ex-husband's home north of Shelbyville on her way to Murfreesboro. Mook, 24, didn't arrive for an appointment and her burned car was found outside Murfreesboro later in the night.

Shelbyville police continue to seek Bobby Smelcer, who was last in contact with his family the weekend before Thanksgiving. His home was found with doors open and all personal effects, including billfold and cell phone, intact.

The cases are not thought to be related, authorities said.

Antonio Taylor of Shelbyville was last seen in 2000. SPD Detective Sgt. Brian Crews said his department still talks to Taylor's grandmother or other family members about once a month or if and when any lead is followed up on.

"Whenever we make an arrest of anyone who may have known Antonio we ask them if they have any information," SPD Detective Lt. Pat Mathis said.

"The biggest clue in a missing person's case is the body itself," Crews said. "A case is at a standstill and we're definitely hampered (when we don't know where the person is.)"

Crews was not indicating that any of the missing persons are necessarily thought to be dead.

"It's frustrating because you feel like the families believe that you aren't doing anything," Crews said. "I mourn with the families, knowing that their loved ones may be out there somewhere. I woke up thinking about that on Saturday morning (March 5) when it was so cold and dreary."

Smelcer, 52, wasn't reported missing for five days after he was last seen, police said. TBI crime scene investigators found only a few spots of dried blood near a door of his residence and told police they were not necessarily from a violent act.

Officers and family members said they have conducted ground searches near areas where Smelcer was known to frequent, including Warners Bridge Road where he regularly walked, with no success.