MARIANNA, Ark. – The disappearance of Annie Lee Hampton has haunted the town of Marianna in eastern Arkansas for two-and-a-half years.
On Wednesday, a dive team that has had success finding missing persons have hopefully helped bring some answers to a cold case.
Hampton went missing in October of 2019.
The Adventures With Purpose dive team picked up the case and went to Marianna on Wednesday.
The team said they poured over her case and were able to battle the freezing temperatures and cold waters with the belief that they may have recovered Hampton’s car.
Hampton suffered from dementia and the team believes that was likely the cause of her going into the water, but authorities will still have to confirm those details.
The lead diver with AWP, Doug Bishop, said they feel a great responsibility to find loved ones, especially in smaller towns where it’s more likely more people know a person, someone like Annie Lee Hampton.
“They expressed how much Ms. Annie meant to them, the community, and they were completely embracing, and they were really hopeful we were going to be successful that day,” Bishop said.
Bishop said they were able to locate the vehicle about 25 yards from a boat ramp on Bear Creek Lake, which is about 30 feet deep.
How is the team able to find people sometimes more effectively than law enforcement?
Bishop says many times it comes down to technology and red tape.
Many agencies just don’t have the highest tech sonar because their resources need to be used more efficiently, and there are times when policy dictates whether they can send dive teams out.
AWP says they don’t have to adhere to things like that and they’re able to search areas authorities may not be able to because of that.