Search continues for missing Effingham County man

56-year-old James Tebeau (Source: Effingham County Sheriff's Office)
56-year-old James Tebeau (Source: Effingham County Sheriff's Office)

By Don Logana - bio | email

GUYTON, GA (WTOC) - Three days and there is still no sign of a missing Effingham County man.

Sheriff's deputies began a full scale searchSunday night with volunteers, firefighters and law enforcement. The family believes 56-year-old James Tebeau was suffering from dementia.

The case is still being treated as a missing person, but foul play has not been ruled out.

Monday afternoon, Savannah-Chatham Metro Police delivered a boat with sonar equipment to scan the 12 acre pond along the family's 380 acre property.

Tebeau's son, James, told WTOC he had been searching Friday, when he came home to make supper for his dad and his dad was gone.

"He said I'll be here waiting on ya," Tebeau said.

Those were the last words James Tebeau heard from his father's mouth. Friday night, 56-year-old James Sr. was not home waiting.

"Nowhere. No where to be found," Tebeau said. "I searched over and over. I stayed up half the night wondering where he was at. Nothin."

Tebeau says his father had been experiencing dementia like symptoms in recent weeks, including forgetting names and where he put things. He says the family got worried even though they lived less than a mile away.

"We were in the process of moving down here to be right here beside him," he said.

Tebeau says his father had a doctor's appointment scheduled for Monday morning to have him checked out for his recent behavior, and also to look into registering him in the Project Lifesaver bracelet program, for seniors and people suffering from dementia.

Now all they can do is search and wonder.

"Everything from he might be alright to he might not be," Tebeau said.

"We brought the dogs out. K-9's searched last night. We called in a helicopter with a flare unit. No luck with it," Effingham Sheriff Jimmy McDuffie told WTOC.

McDuffie says, after two days, the Tebeau family called their office Sunday to report the father missing. Tebeau was last seen Friday around 8:30 a.m., when his son left for work.

So far, their search has not had much luck either.

"He is known to walk back and forth to his son's house, which is a half mile to three quarters of a mile through the woods," McDuffie said. "We are hoping he will be somewhere in that section."

The next phase of the search for Tebeau has moved to the pond behind the family's property and a walking search has expanded to Rouye 119, adjacent to the property.

Tebeau says his family is trying to stay strong and positive.

"If it weren't for them, I wouldn't be holding up very good. I was pretty much the only one he had," Tebeau said. "I hope he's alright. I pray every chance I get he is alright."

Search teams have focused their efforts on the Tebeau's property, but did begin walking and checking ajacent properties Monday afternoon. Meanwhile, the pond search continues.

If you have any information on James Tebeau's whereabouts, contact the Effingham County Sherriff's Office at 912.754.3449.

Tebeau was last seen wearing a white shirt, blue jeans and white shoes.

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