Thursday, June 30 2022

The search for a woman from Cleveland, Ga., Missing since New Year’s Day ended tragically on Thursday when researchers found the body of Mattie Mizell. White County Coroner Ricky Barrett has confirmed the death of the 69-year-old man.

Mizell was caught on surveillance cameras as she walked around Cleveland on New Years Day (Cleveland Police Department photo)

“We don’t know how long she’s been dead, the cause of death or something like that – we don’t know exactly yet,” Barrett told Now Habersham. He said he will meet with the state medical examiner’s office on Friday.

The Cleveland Police Department, which conducted Mizell’s comprehensive six-day search, released a statement late on January 6 saying his body was found that evening by a creek in a densely wooded area.

“Crime is not suspected,” Cleveland Police Chief Jeff Shoemaker said.

The discovery follows an exhaustive six-day search that began on January 1 when Mizell, who was suffering from dementia, went for a walk and never made it home. She was caught on surveillance cameras and spotted by locals in several locations on New Years Day. The last known sighting of her was in the NOK Drive area northeast of Cleveland.

An exhaustive search

Ground crews and tracking dogs spent days searching the outlying areas near where Mizell was seen. Search teams used drones and helicopters to check adjacent waterways and hard-to-reach areas on foot, officials said.

Chief Shoemaker posted a photo of a pickup truck seen on NOK Drive around the same time as Mizell on Tuesday. Officials were looking for the driver, hoping to speak with them to find out if they had seen anything. Police were still looking for this driver on Wednesday night.

Police released this photo of a van, hoping to speak with its driver. (Cleveland Police Department photo)

Mizell’s research grabbed statewide attention. News stations across Georgia covered the story and thousands shared social media posts and articles on the search for the missing woman. They also shared the hope that she would be found safe and sound.

“We are sorry about the outcome of this case. This is not the outcome that anyone in our community hoped for, ”said Cleveland Mayor Josh Turner. “On behalf of the City of Cleveland and our partners, I want to extend my sincere and sincere condolences to the Mizell family. It is an incredibly difficult time for Ms. Mizell’s family and the community.

As invested as the public is in this matter, none were more invested than the public safety officials and the volunteers who searched for Mattie Mizell. Staff from several local and state agencies, including Cleveland Police Department, White County Public Safety Department, Georgia State Patrol, Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Georgia Emergency Management and the Georgia Department of Defense were involved in the research. Barrett said they should be commended because they never gave up.

“Nobody stopped looking for her. They just kept going, ”he told Now Habersham. “They had resources from all over to look for her and they stayed with it.”

The researchers used drones to try to locate Mattie Mizell. The 69-year-old Cleveland woman, who police said suffered from dementia, walked away from her home on New Years Day and never returned. (photo from
Weak cloud cover ground search helicopters in the NOK Drive area of ​​Cleveland on Monday, January 3, 2022. (Hadley Cottingham / Now Habersham)
Authorities set up a command post during the search of the gymnasium at White County Middle School. Mizell was seen walking near the school the day she went missing. (Hadley Cottingham / Now Habersham)
Cleveland Police Chief Jeff Shoemaker (left), White County Fire Chief Seth Weaver (right) discuss the search with state law enforcement officials. (Hadley Cottingham / Now Habersham)

“The police department would like to thank the community members who assisted in the search,” said Chief Shoemaker. “We are all saddened by the result; our thoughts and prayers are with Mrs. Mizell’s family.

Mizell’s family have asked the public to respect their privacy and will not make any statement about it, the police chief said. He also said they will not be receiving visitors at this time, adding that anyone can contact the Cleveland Police Department at 706-348-7078.

This article has been updated with the latest information

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