Rachel Conger


Search for Rachel Conger continues...

Please follow this link to read the story on The Henry Countian website: http://www.henrycountian.com/2008/news/mar23_29/mar24_search.htm

My deepest apologies for not properly crediting all sources.

PARIS, Tenn. — Some 300 people from all over west Tennessee came together Saturday to help in the search for Rachel Conger, combing the fields along Briarpatch Lake Road by foot and on horseback. Henry County Sheriff Monte Belew praised the "tremendous turnout," but said this morning the search turned up no new leads to Rachel Conger's disappearance.

The missing woman disappeared Thursday, March 13, from her new residence in Como, TN with her estranged husband, Paul, in a borrowed gray Ford F-150 truck. Paul Conger was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in the woods near the Briarpatch Lake Road home that the couple had formerly shared.

Belew had issued a call to the public to help in the community-wide search for Mrs. Conger. Hundreds heeded the call, gathering around noon at the Yoder Brothers Meat Processing Company on Briarpatch Lake Road.

Most of the people who showed up did not know the Conger family, but said they felt compelled to aid in the search for Mrs. Conger.

Jeff Andres of Henry came with his son, Daniel. "I didn't even know her, but we just wanted to help," he said.

Ivan Folsom, Jr. of Camden, came with his horse, "Lady". "I think it's great that so many people showed up," he said. "The more the merrier."

June Taylor and Shawnee Hill said they didn't know Mrs. Conger, but wanted to donate their time to the effort. "I didn't know her, but we're from Paris and as far as I'm concerned, we're all neighbors."

Kay Whitby of Paris said she and her family just returned from a spring break vacation. "We didn't even know about it until yesterday and once I heard what was going on, I decided I wanted to help."

Search and rescue teams and law enforcement personnel came from all over the area, including Shelby, Obion, Benton, Decatur and Carroll Counties. Belew said he didn't call them to come, "they just heard about it and volunteered on their own."

Along with the Henry County Sheriff's Department, the sheriff's reserves were there in force, along with the county's Equine Search and Rescue Group and the Henry County Search and Rescue Squad. Many also brought their K-9 units.

In his search instructions to the crowd, Belew also provided a detailed time-line on the Conger case. According to Belew, Rachel had been staying at her new residence in Como and she left with her husband in the borrowed truck around 7:45 a.m. Thursday.

The couple drove into Paris and Paul placed a phone call at 8:03 a.m. from his cell phone, which was transmitted by a cell tower in Paris. In the call, he told his first cousin that he was going to Clarksville with Rachel to return the truck.

A video surveillance camera at West Wood Wine and Liquor captured video of the Conger truck driving by at 8:07 a.m., Belew said.

At 9:33 a.m., someone called Rachel on her cell phone, but Paul answered the call "and he seemed upset." That phone call was transmitted by the cell tower at Swan Bay (in the Paris Landing area at Kentucky Lake), Belew said.

At 10:20 a.m., a reliable witness saw Conger in the side yard of his home. At 11:45 a.m., the gray Ford truck was back on Briarpatch Lake Rd. "and Paul Conger pulled into the house and stayed briefly, maybe 5-10 minutes, and got back into the truck". At that point, Conger drove down Briarpatch Lake Rd. and turned in along a dirt road where he ditched his vehicle. ''

Paul Conger was then found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound Sunday morning about 500 feet from the Ford F-150 in the woods, Belew said.

Using law enforcement personnel, as with the help of two helicopters and a cadaver dog, searches for Rachel already had been performed near the couple's home, at Swan Bay, in Benton County, at Paris Landing, Gray's Landing, and in the Land Between The Lakes areas 15, 16, and the Standing Rock area, Belew said.

"If she is deceased, and we believe she is," Belew said, "she probably received her wounds between 9:30-11:30 a.m. on Thursday morning."

With nothing new uncovered during Saturday's search, Belew said a decision will be made on how to proceed. "We're going to sit down today and re-interview witnesses and look at evidence again. We'll be getting DNA evidence back soon, too. We may have another search next weekend. But in the meantime, we just want the public to know how much we appreciate how helpful they were in trying to find Rachel."

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