WOODLAWN — Assigning quantity to loss is pointless. A loved one’s disappearance ignores math, shoving the bereaved into limbo. Talissa Huff, 47-year old daughter of James Roger “Jimmy” Huff, all too well knows this. She plans on April 29 to mark the 10th anniversary of her father’s disappearance with a memorial balloon release at 6 p.m. at 2608 Forest Oak Road in Woodlawn. (The former June Larrowe Farm.)
According to Huff, her father went missing on April 26, 2007. Two years later, The Mount Airy News reported Sheriff Graham Atkinson still considered the case an active investigation although Atkinson was reported to feel the overall probe was not any closer to solving the case.
Former State Bureau of Investigatin Agent L. Terry was involved in the initial investigation. He now serves as a captain in the Surry County Sheriff’s Department. Huff, who was 55 at the time he went missing, was described as a cattle broker known to frequent livestock sales in several states.
“I’d talked with him that Wednesday night,” said Talissa Huff. “When I couldn’t contact him later I figured daddy had dropped his phone in the barn so I didn’t go down there until April 28. The keys were in the truck not all the way turned off. People didn’t mess with his truck. One gate wasn’t hooked. When I saw that one gate I knew something was wrong. Just pulling up.” She said she “freaked” at this point and went to get help. (Terry confirmed the Department received the call on Huff from family members on April 28.)
All except one of Huff’s vehicles were at his home at 190 Palmer Road, Mount Airy (the truck was found on Oak Grove Church Road in Carroll) and those close to Huff told investigators that he never walked anywhere. He also apparently had his cell phone with him, since it was not located on the premises, but attempts to reach him via the phone proved fruitless.
“This case remains classified as a missing person. We actively continue to work on any tips and leads we receive,” said Terry. He said because of this status, the Department cooperates with a variety of local and national agencies who share information with them.
According to officials, Huff was reportedly feeding cows, and was last seen near Oak Grove Baptist Church. Search teams combed this area using dogs and a police helicopter. They scoured the farm where Huff was thought to be, including a nearby pond. The investigation also included the Carroll County Sheriff’s Department.
Authorities checked on Huff’s whereabouts at Woodlawn, where he originally was from, but without success. At the time, officers tried to contact everyone who recently had come into contact with Huff in an effort to determine what might have become of him.
Huff had told no one of any plans to leave the area and had made arrangements to be with several people during the next few days after he was last seen, according to previous reports. Atkinson stressed investigators will continue to pursue any new information as it is received, and try to establish if it can be productive in terms of solving the case.
“He was a cattle farmer in the area. He was a jack of all trades. He loved to trade. He was well known,” recalled Talissa Huff. “It’s been hard and I’ve had a lot of (health) issues due to him being missing.”
She said she has struggled with depression since the incident which she feels contributed to nervous breakdowns she has suffered. Huff praised the community for its support and said it made her getting a decent home possible.
“My heart just breaks for Talissa (and her family), ” Terry said. “It has to be tough. We occasionally get a tip from individuals or surrounding agencies and we follow up on that. We’re going to keep plugging away on this, hoping for the best.” Persons with information on the case may contact Terry at 336-401-8900.
David Broyles may be reached at 276-779-4013 or on Twitter@CarrollNewsDave.