Family still hopeful in Ratliff search

Published 6:00 am Thursday, March 6, 2008

A week into Virginia Ratliff’s disappearance, there is still nosign of the missing 83-year-old Brookhaven woman.

Ratliff’s brother, Caby Byrne, said the search effort has beenan inspiration to the family, and that he has been amazed at thesupport of the community through the last week.

“We’ve gotten terrific support from law enforcement, and this isa great community and they’re doing everything they can to helplocate my sister,” said Byrne.

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Byrne said Ratliff’s husband Charles, affectionately known as”Ploochie,” is doing well under the circumstances and is finallyhome from his stay at the VA hospital in Jackson.

“It’s good that he’s home where he needs to be,” he said. “Hehad a tough stay up there in the hospital, waiting for proceduresand being separated from all this.

“But you could say he’s in positive spirits given the reality ofthe situation,” Byrne continued.

A Silver Alert has been issued for Ratliff, which is issued inthe case of a missing senior citizen. Byrne said he is glad thealert was issued as it carries a level of immediacy commensuratewith a missing older person.

“I’m just a novice coming to this kind of thing having neverdealt with it before, but everything I’ve heard, it sounds like avery positive thing that helps to get quick response in the area,”he said.

Law enforcement officials have made it a point to keep thefamily in the loop, too, Byrne said.

“I think people from every level of law enforcement involved inthis search have done their best,” he said. “We’ve been keptwell-informed, and we appreciate that.”

Brookhaven Police Chief Pap Henderson said authorities are stillchasing leads, but that they mostly still seem to be dead ends.However, he said a helicopter will be in the area Thursday.

“It’s going to do some low flying,” he said. “The planes we hadwere good but they were looking from higher up, and this will giveus some low flying search ability.”

Byrne said any help in the search is welcome, especially when itbrings a new angle to the table.

“We’re still just grateful to hear about the helicopter being apossibility,” he said. “It gives us a new dimension of our searchto have that type of overview on the area.”

And they believe there is still hope, he said.

“We’re waiting and knowing and believing,” he said. “It’s justbeen a very inspirational thing to me, recognizing that my sisterand her husband really have made a contribution to this communityin the past years, and it’s coming back in the way of response inthis search.”

Anyone with possible information leading to Ratliff’swhereabouts is asked to call the Brookhaven Police Department at(601)833-2424.