Headlines – 1/31/2003

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 31, 2003

The Panolian Headlines: January 31, 2003

For complete stories, pick up the 1/31/03  issue of The Panolian

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Panola Searchers Find Cold, Lost Boy
Family Thanks Group That Turned Out To Help


Thanks to a big turnout of searchers on a cold night this week, 13-year-old Corey Shields is safe and warm today.

The Eureka Community youth, who is learning disabled and suffers from epilepsy, wandered away from home about 4 p.m. Monday and wasn’t found until shortly after midnight Tuesday morning.

"I can’t thank everyone enough," said Corey’s aunt, Bobbie Mills. "We were getting frantic. It was so cold.

"There must have been about 200 people out," she said. "You couldn’t get down Hubbard Road for the cars … no one was giving up." (See related story).

Mills, whose sister Wanda Shields is Corey’s mother, lives next door. His dad is Terry Shields.

Corey’s routine includes "sitting on my porch in the afternoon until I get home from work," Mills said.

"I got home a little later than usual Monday because I had to get some things in Batesville and he wasn’t there," she said.

Mills walked to her sister’s home and Corey wasn’t there. Her sister was occupied, she said, with another child who is "completely handicapped."

Corey’s mom said he’d told her he was going to "play with the dogs," Mills said.

"He has two little dogs … they are identical," she said. And, they weren’t to be found.

At that, Mills began to look for her nephew "in his little playing places."

She was soon joined by her sister’s "boyfriend" and they began to widen the search.

But when dark came, Mills said she knew "we needed help to find him."

After a preacher told Mills he’d seen Corey beside a gate across the road, the search moved from "behind the house to there," she said.

"He wasn’t supposed to go over there but I just knew in my heart that’s what he’d done," she said.

That’s when the Panola County Sheriff’s Department and the local Civil Defense office headed by Son Hudson got involved.

Sheriff’s Investigator Craig Sheley said a large group of volunteers, including volunteer firefighters, joined deputies and others in the search.

Woods, 25-Degree Air Didn’t Deter Volunteers

Jeremy Denley (l) listens as his uncle, John Hubbard, relates events surrounding the search and rescue of Corey Shields.

"I wish you could interview everybody. This was a countywide deal. We just happen to be the lucky ones who found him."

So said John Hubbard a couple of days after he and his nephew, Jeremy Denley, found a cold, lost 13-year-old boy.

The men were two of what could of been as many as 200 searchers who looked into the wee hours Tuesday morning for Corey Shields. (See related story).

Searchers fanned out shortly after dark Monday in the 25-degree temperatures searching woods and pastures for the learning disabled youth.

It was about 12:30 a.m. that a faint cry of "help" could be heard after Hubbard shouted Corey’s name from a hill in pasture.

Another shout from Hubbard brought a replay of something like, "I’m here," the rescuer said.

While searchers had shouted Corey’s name hundreds of times and some had come close to him, it was Hubbard’s voice he answered.

"He wouldn’t answer to anyone but John," Denley said.

And just why that was so, no one may ever know.

With Hubbard calling, a group of almost 20 searchers ran toward Corey’s sound. It was Denley’s light that first flashed across the boy’s face.

When Denley reached Corey, the child was standing across a fence from him and had sort of a dazed look but managed a smile.

Son Makes It In Time for Dad’s Duty Sendoff

Jonathan Ray was able to be in the hospital when wife Bridgette gave birth to the couple’s first child Jonathan Tyler. Ray will ship out for Kentucky on Saturday then head off to Southwest Asia for about one year.

A Batesville man will soon leave behind his wife and newborn son to protect the country’s freedom.

When the 223rd unit of the National Guard of Clarksdale is shipped out Saturday, Jonathan Ray will do both his fatherly and patriotic duty and go with them.

Ray said the guardsmen of the 223rd were told of their move to active duty last week and originally expected to ship out Saturday, Jan. 25- prior to the birth of Ray’s first child.

"We were not moved out that day because we needed more time to prepare," he said.

Ray’s wife Bridgette gave birth to son Jonathan Tyler, who they call Tyler, that day.

"I wanted to be there for my wife and my son," he said. "I was really afraid I would not see him born.

"It was really an answer to my prayers to be able and be here when my son was born," Ray said.

Ray said all he knows of his deployment is he will be stationed in Southwest Asia for a period of about one year.

Grant Dollars, "Techno Teams" Boon to SPSD
South Panola School Board members were given an update on the district’s technology during their last meeting.

Technology Coordinator Jay Sandlin explained the Enhancing Education Through Technology (E2T2) grant the district recently received.

"The state received $6 million in funding that was disbursed down to the school districts," he said.

The South Panola School district was allocated $25,000 out of the first phase of grant money that can be used anywhere in the district.

"A lot of times grants target the the K-through-6 environment," Sandlin said. "With this grant were able to used the funds at the high school level in an effort to improve math test scores."

Sandlin told the board teacher input was sought prior to making equipment purchases.


New feature of our online newspaper:
with articles by Kate B. Dixon,
Jim Beaver & John Howell, Sr.