A young Virginia father who vanished after leaving his car to try and walk home during last week’s blizzards has been found dead.
Jacob Whaley, 34, was found roughly 200 yards from where his family thought his body would be on Greene’s Corner Road in Louisa County, Virginia, on Friday.
He vanished on Monday, and sent a final haunting text to his mother telling her that he was lost.
Whaley’s car had broken down after sliding into a ditch due to icy road conditions around 8.30pm on Monday. He decided to walk nearly six miles home to get back to his two-year-old son and was trekking through the woods to do so.
‘He was trying to find a path through the woods because there is a neighborhood that he lives that he could’ve gotten to and walked right across the street and been able to get home,’ his sister Angela Whaley told WTVR.
Unfortunately, the temperatures dropped to a freezing 17 degrees and his phone – which was only at 14 per cent when he started – died on the journey home.
‘He got out to walk because the power is out. He couldn’t see houses or street names. His phone was only on 14 percent when he started to walk. He got lost. He wasn’t that far from the house,’ Angela said.
Whaley had texted his mother shortly before 9pm that he was lost. His family contacted the Louisa County Sheriff’s Office to send out a search party looking for him.
The Sheriff’s Office said it ‘immediately responded to the family’s request to check both the roadside area along Greene’s Corner Road, the roadways in between and his residence,’ but unfortunately did not find Whaley.
On Thursday, authorities found Whaley’s body roughly 200 yards from where his family said he would after several days of searching in a pine tree thicket. Hanover and Spotsylvania Counties also helped search, but could only search in their jurisdiction.
Volunteers could also help and Angela told WTVR that she searched for seven hours on Wednesday.
After finding his body, the family had to break it to their father, who ‘screamed’ as he heard the news.
Despite their devastating loss, the family remembers Whaley as the man who would have given a stranger the shirt off his back.
They are always now accusing the police of not doing enough to find to Whaley.
‘I’m so angry with this county,’ his mother Shannon Whaley told The New York Times. ‘All they had to do was go out and holler for him.’
‘Louisa County let him freeze to death,’ Angela agreed.
The Louisa County Sheriff’s Office said, however, that his body was found in a ‘very dense pine plantation’
‘This was a very heavily wooded area off the road that the search team had a hard time getting through,’ Chief Deputy Ronnie Roberts, told The New York Times on Saturday. ‘Our county had 100 percent power outage and impassable roads.’
The family and community members stood outside the sheriff’s office on Saturday to protest.
Hundreds of drivers in Virginia were stranded for 27 hours on I-95 around 8.30am on Monday when six tractor-trailers jackknifed in the winter storm and triggered a chain reaction, causing a day-long pile-up along the 50-mile stretch of the I-95 just south of Washington, DC.
The Fredericksburg area saw 14 inches of snow as temperatures plunged to the low teens. Several drivers were forced to sit in the cool after turning off their vehicles or running out of gas as they sat in a gridlock.
Some drivers, like Whaley, even left their vehicles on the highway and began walking to unknown locations.
Source: Thanks msn.com