Scott woman missing for one year

By: Mike McCarthy
By: Mike McCarthy

SCOTT COUNTY (WVLT) -- She's been missing for a year, and now the family of a Scott County grandmother has given up hope they'll find her alive.

The mini-van of Jean Johnson, 66, was found abandoned in an Oneida parking lot.

On Sunday afternoon her children went back there and prayed for the answer to a question that haunts them everyday.

"It's just been so hard, I can't imagine anyone going through something like this,” said Dorothy Taylor, Jean’s daughter, who has lost the hope of finding her mother. “We're just looking for remains because that's what's left of my mom, just her remains."

The rest of Jean’s family also appears to have lost hope.

"There's been a lot of days where I felt like we're towing this line all by ourselves,” Dorothy said.

Jean went missing a year ago on Sunday, and to mark the day, her children brought her mini-van back to the Oneida shopping center where it was found.

In the same spot it was found, the vehicle stood Sunday covered with signs of their love.

While there, friends and well-wishers stopped by to offer hugs, handshakes and even words of hope.

Some who had never met Jean even dropped in to say they have been touched by what has happened.

"There is a doubt in people's mine’s as to if we're going to ever find her,” said Larry Fults, an Oneida resident. “It's a wondering among people and the talk of the town."

Investigators even caution against giving up hope.

"We're closer, let's put it that way,” said Chief Deputy Bobby Ellis with the Scott County Sheriff’s Department. “That's all I can say at this time."

According to investigators, Jean Johnson's ex-husband Douglas Whisnant still remains a suspect in her disappearance, but he hasn't been charged.

The sheriff's office says it plans to release a full report of its search efforts in the next few weeks.

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