Charges Likely in Hargon Disappearance

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

Charges will be filed Sunday against a relative of the Mississippi family missing since Valentine's Day, a spokesman for the state's Department of Public Safety said Saturday night.

Michael and Rebecca Hargon and their four-year-old son, James Patrick, were reported missing February 14 after a family friend reported seeing the door open as she drove by their house in Yazoo County, which is about 40 miles north of Jackson, the state capital.

Earnest Lee Hargon, a cousin of the family, was taken into custody Saturday and would be charged possibly in two counties. Smith and Yazoo, DPS spokesman Warren Strain told reporters. Hargon was being held at an undisclosed location, Strain said.

Investigators said they found blood and spent bullet casings at the house but no signs of forced entry. Family members also said nothing was missing, including the family's three vehicles.

Teams will resume their search of five buildings and 160 acres in Taylorsville in Smith County, 60 miles southeast of Jackson, as part of the investigation. The tract includes woods, marshland and a river, Strain said.

Strain said lots of evidence had been collected. Several people were questioned, but only Earnest Hargon was detained, Strain said.

Authorities went to Hargon's house near Taylorsville, which also is a veterinary clinic owned by Lisa Ainsworth, Strain said. Ainsworth is listed as a veterinarian in the telephone directory.

The relationship between Ainsworth and Earnest Hargon was unclear, but Strain said he listed the location as his residence.

Strain said investigators Friday "developed some information that led us here to Smith County, where the search warrants are being effected and this individual is being questioned."

He said he was unclear if Ainsworth was the owner of the entire property involved in the search, adding that he thought multiple owners could be involved.

Strain said a multi-jurisdictional task force had followed more than 400 leads in the case. He said a "domino effect-type situation" led the investigators to Smith County.

Bill Hirtz, Rebecca Hargon's father, said he had not yet spoken with authorities regarding the search but that a son-in-law had been notified that "they're working on something."

"It seems that the news people know more than what I know," he said. "It sounds like they may be a little bit closer to something."

Hirtz said he remains hopeful that "we can see the kids again."

"I've got a lot of hope right now," he said.


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