Family, authorities fear worst in city woman’s disappearance

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 25, 2005

[1/23/05] Buster and Cissie Schultz rake the leaves at their granddaughter’s home on Cain Ridge Road to help pass the days as they wait for news of her fate.

Christmas lights still hang from the eaves of the roof, and a swingset sits idle in the front yard. Schultz says the hardest part is knowing what to say to his 9-year-old great-granddaughter who hasn’t seen her mother since the day before Thanksgiving.

“Sometimes she’ll just go to crying and you know why. You know what she’s thinking. She’ll ask us, Is my mama dead?’ and we hate to tell her, but we’re very afraid,” he said.

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Angela Schultz Shiers Barrentine was last seen by her grandparents around 6:30 p.m. Nov. 24 at her home at 137 Cain Ridge Road. The 27-year-old mother of one was cooking dinner when the Schultzes stopped by to make sure she was coming to their home for Thanksgiving the next day.

“She seemed just as happy as she could be and she said she would be there,” Cissie Schultz said.

But, she never showed up.

According to authorities, on that Wednesday night, Barrentine took $10 from her husband and said she was going to the store up the street. She left the house driving the 1997 Ford F-150 pickup she had gotten the week before, but for which she had not bought a tag.

She left her driver’s license sitting on the counter and never came back.

“It’s like she’s disappeared off the face of the earth. We can’t find her. We can’t find her truck. We can’t find anything,” said Barrentine’s mother, Deborah Cummins.

Cummins called Vicksburg Police the next day, setting in motion an investigation that would take the case across the Big Black River to Hinds County and bring in authorities from two counties and different city police departments.

In Edwards, witnesses reported seeing Barrentine on Thanksgiving Day around 11:30 a.m.

“I think at this point, all would agree that foul play is involved,” said Warren County Sheriff Martin Pace.

Pace would not speculate about the outcome of the investigation and would not say what points to foul play. He said investigators have given polygraph exams to witnesses, searched using helicopters and followed up on tips almost daily without any results.

Vicksburg Police Deputy Chief Richard O’Bannon said friends of Barrentine’s reported visiting with her in Edwards before she left for home around 11 a.m.

Barrentine had married Daniel Barrentine about three weeks before she disappeared. Police questioned Daniel Barrentine and he agreed to a voice stress analysis, which indicated that he was being honest with police, O’Bannon said.

“There have been some calls of domestic violence between the two of them, but I don’t know that any of it has ever been to court,” he said.

Vicksburg Police Lt. Bobby Stewart said information about Angela Barrentine and her truck have been entered in the National Crime Information Center and it can be accessed by law enforcement across the country.

Meanwhile, the family waits, particularly concerned, Cummins said, about the fact that her daughter takes medication for epilepsy.

Barrentine left home without the medicine and, her mother said, without it, her daughter could have two to three seizures daily.

“It’s just like a nightmare. It’s something that you would never think is going to happen to you, and when it does you keep thinking you’re going to wake up like it never happened,” Cummins said.

The investigation is among at least four active missing person cases in Warren County. The other cases include Jacqueline Levitz, widow of furniture retailer Ralph Levitz, missing since 1995; Mary Franklin, missing since 1986; and Deborah Hanley, missing since 1982.

Barrentine attended St. Aloysius High School and graduated from Vicksburg High School. Cummins said her daughter enjoyed watching NASCAR and professional wrestling, working in her yard and fishing with her daughter.