3 Reported Missing in Fannin County; Foul Play Suspected

Evidence of foul play was found in the home: Fannin County Sheriff

By Frank Heinz and Elvira Sakmari
|  Friday, Jan 20, 2012  |  Updated 11:57 AM CDT
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1 Arrest; 3 Still Missing from Fannin Co.

DeSoto Parish Sheriff

The sheriff of DeSoto Parish, La., said Thomas Taunton, 52, is being held on a capital murder warrant in connection with the disappearances of three people in Fannin County.

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A man has been arrested in Louisiana, but the search continues for three people missing from a farm in Fannin County.

The sheriff of DeSoto Parish, La., said Thomas Taunton, 52, is being held on a capital murder warrant in connection with the disappearances in Texas.

The Fannin County Sheriff's Office said it received a tip Wednesday that three people might be missing from a residence in the 14000 block of State Highway 78 near Leonard and that foul play might be involved.

Deputies went to the home on a welfare check, but no one answered the door. Based on the information, deputies entered the home but found no one inside. Deputies said they found evidence that foul play may have been involved in the disappearance of three people who lived there.

Deputies in DeSoto Parish told KTAL-TV that Taunton took his truck to a Ford dealer in Stonewall, La., after it broke down. A nearby deputy recognized the vehicle as one wanted in connection with the Fannin County case, and Taunton was taken into custody.

Investigators in Louisiana say they are interested in the trailer Taunton was hauling. They told KTAL it could contain the bodies of  a man, his wife and their adult daughter who are missing from Fannin County.

Deputies would not talk about Taunton's relationship with the missing family, but neighbors in Fannin County told KTEN-TV that Taunton is the couple's stepson.

DeSoto Parish deputies said investigators from Texas were coming to see if bodies were in the trailer. When asked if they had looked inside the trailer, a deputy repeated that they were waiting for investigators from Texas to see if bodies were in the trailer.

Just before 9:30 p.m. Thursday, the DeSoto Parish Sheriff's Office said Taunton was being held on a capital murder warrant out of Fannin County.

Investigators in Fannin County have released very little information in the case, not even telling NBC 5 an APB for Taunton's truck had been issued.

Editor's Note: Taunton's name was spelled incorrectly in a previous version of this article.

KTAL-TV's Nick LaFave contributed to this report.

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