Missing Cullman man found alive in Texas; circumstances unclear

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Charles Steven Smith, Jr. (Cullman Police Department)

CULLMAN, Ala. – A Cullman man who has been missing since April 19, 2019 has been found alive in Texas. Cullman Police Chief Kenny Culpepper said the New Orleans Police Department confirmed Charles Steven Smith, Jr., 42, was alive by face-timing him. Smith is in Corpus Christi, said the NOPD.

Said Culpepper, “The New Orleans Police Department face-timed him. He did have some facial bruising. He told them he stopped to a change a tire and someone knocked him out.”

Smith had allegedly been traveling from Cullman to Biloxi, Mississippi when his family lost contact with him.

Culpepper said the CPD will now close its missing persons case. He said the CPD has had an investigator, Sgt. Eric Cole, working almost exclusively on the case, and also, “The New Orleans Police Department came up here. They spent a lot of time on this case. As far as what they’re going to do, that’s up to them.”

“The Cullman Police Department appreciates all of the support and information provided in the efforts to locate Charles Steven Smith Jr. We also appreciate the efforts of the New Orleans Police Department in working in conjunction with our agency to locate him and bring closure to this matter. Charles Steven Smith Jr. has been located  and is alive and well and his family is aware at this time,” Cole said in a statement to the media.

Background

Smith was last heard from Friday, April 19. His truck was found abandoned near New Orleans Monday, April 22 under what Cullman Police called “suspicious” circumstances.

The Cullman Police Department issued a media release Thursday, April 25 requesting the public’s assistance in the case. According to Sgt. Eric Cole, Smith left Cullman on his way to Biloxi, Mississippi on the 19th. The family lost contact with Smith later that afternoon during his travels. In the last known contact, Smith discussed issues with a tire but did not give his location.

Friday morning, April 26, Cole said, “I can confirm New Orleans did locate a truck. It’s believed to be his truck, and they have been processing that, to see if he was in it, or what may have happened to him. I can confirm that his truck was located in New Orleans. It does appear that there are bullet holes in the truck, which may or may not be connected. The area has been searched thoroughly, but nothing has been found. Smith has been confirmed to have been alive and well while traveling through Mississippi on his way to Biloxi throughout the majority of Friday, April 19. His vehicle was located along a secondary road near I-10 on the outskirts of New Orleans under suspicious circumstances. The circumstances in which the vehicle was found are being actively investigated by the New Orleans Police Department at this time and foul play has not been ruled out. The Cullman Police Department is currently working in conjunction with the New Orleans Police Department on this matter.”

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