Christmas arrives early for missing woman’s family

Published 6:00 am Monday, December 23, 2002

MONTICELLO — Christmas came a week early for the family of aformer Jayess resident who was found, alive and well, after beingreported as missing six months ago.

Jolyn Armstrong, 26, of Collins, was reported missing inmid-July after she was last seen driving away from her place ofresidence.

“We got our Christmas present. We couldn’t ask for anythingbetter,” said Marlo Bourn, Armstrong’s sister. “You have all thesebad thoughts going through your head, and to find her walking andtalking – it’s such a relief.”

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Armstrong was found during a routine traffic stop in WarrenCounty.

“We found her,” an elated Bourn said. “The (Warren County)Sheriff’s Office called us Saturday night. They had pulled her overin Vicksburg at 4:30 a.m. Friday.”

When Armstrong was pulled over for speeding, the NCIC computersearch turned up information that she was reported as missing inCovington County.

Following up the information, Bourn said, a deputy called themand informed them they had her, but could not release anyinformation because of the federal Privacy Act. He also told themArmstrong said she would call them.

The family, including Armstrong’s brothers from Texas, met inVicksburg with Armstrong the next day.

Armstrong told them that she had been trying to run from herpast, but that her problems were not family-related, Bournsaid.

“She said eventually she would have called us, but kept puttingit off because she was running from her past and we reminded her ofthe past,” Bourn said. “She was afraid we wouldn’t sympathize withher. We’re trying to help her sort out her problems.”

Bourn said Armstrong knew her family was probably worried abouther, but had been unaware of the search being conducted in southand central Mississippi.

“The papers and television we had her on did not reach her inVicksburg so she never knew people were searching for her,” Bournsaid. “The officer who pulled her over is the one who told her shewas listed as missing.”

Armstrong was surprised to learn of the search, she said.

“She was shocked we had gone through all that trouble, that weloved her that much,” Bourn said.

Armstrong’s return to the family was marred, however, during thetrip from Vicksburg to a family member’s house.

As the caravan of three cars of family members passed throughUtica Sunday morning, the driver of a vehicle coming the oppositedirection had a seizure and lost control of his vehicle, slamminginto Armstrong’s 1989 Chevrolet S-10 pickup and striking a secondfamily member’s car, Bourn said.

Armstrong was sent to the emergency room with injuries. Herbrother, Brian Armstrong of LeWard, Texas, who had been riding withher, was unhurt. The truck was totaled, Bourn said.

Armstrong sustained some back injuries in the accident and can’twork right now, her sister said.

“I don’t know what her plans are now,” she said. “She will bevisiting and staying with her family for a while until she can getback on her feet.”

Prior to her disappearance, Armstrong was living with a couplein Collins, but worked at a restaurant in Columbia. She also owns atrailer home in the Enon community on Old Bethel Road near Bourn’shome and that of her brother, Greg Armstrong.