Article 14: February 2022
Volunteers searching for missing woman at Hochatown
By Chris Willingham
A Haworth graduate and 2013 Miss McCurtain County has been missing since Saturday night, and a large crowd of people who gathered to help search in Hochatown Wednesday morning expressed frustration at the sheriff’s department’s lack of effort in the search.
Alyssa Walker-Donaldson, 24, was last seen about 11:32 p.m. Saturday leaving the Watering Hole Bar in Hochatownand had been known to be heading to Chiggers Bar on Steven’s Gap Road.
Family members who contacted the newspaper on Tuesday said that Walker-Donaldson had been due to meet a group of people at Chiggers Bar, but had never arrived.
On Wednesday morning, a crowd of well over 100 people gathered in Hochatown to help officers search, but there was only one sheriff’s deputy present and no one appeared to know what was happening.
“What am I supposed to tell these people?” a frustrated Hochatown business owner said.
“There’s 150 people out here and they’re looking for some kind of leadership and there is none. It’s great they’re here and want to help, but they need some kind of direction to go in,” he said.
“Where is the sheriff? I called his office and a dispatcher said he wasn’t there today. Where else could he be?!”
An aunt of Walker-Donaldson echoed that statement in a social media post Wednesday, saying she was “upset with the delays and lack of resources from the McCurtain County sheriff’s office” in their search efforts.
Private Hochatown security service owner Jason Ricketts was assisting with the group Wednesday morning, as was the single deputy who was present, witnesses said.
“There’s one deputy here and he’s doing the best he can, but these people need something to go on. They want to know which direction to start looking and we don’t know what to tell them,” the business owner said.
Witnesses said there were crying family members of Walker-Donaldson present and Hochatown businesses were doing all they could to help, including giving coffee and water to the large crowd.
By all accounts, it doesn’t appear sheriff Kevin Clardy has requested assistance from other agencies in the county, which would be routine in a missing persons case, especially one which fell only days after four dangerous felons escaped from the county jail.
Walker-Donaldson’s aunt said the family had requested the OSBI get involved, but Wednesday they were still waiting for the sheriff to activate the OSBI, which is normally very common in a missing person case.
State park rangers were the only other agency seen assisting in the search Wednesday.
Family members of Walker-Donaldson told KSLA that Donaldson had “run-ins” with six-time felon and escapee Jerome Rutherford Jr.
Walker-Donaldson was reported missing by her family on Monday after attempts to contact her via her phone, social media, etc. failed. She is described as an African-American female, 5 ft. 2 inches tall, 130 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes.
Her vehicle was described as a white Buick Encore with Choctaw plate CH7-5760.
Law enforcement has verified that her vehicle had left the strip mall area where the Watering Hole Bar is located and that the Encore last seen making a right-hand turn (to the east) in the Stevens Gap Road area.
In an interview with KSLA, Clardy said that officers had also been frustrated in their attempts to locate Walker-Donaldson’s mobile phone.
Clardy added that one person had told law enforcement that they had seen someone matching Walker-Donaldson’s description on a trail in the area on Saturday night, and that park rangers had been searching that area.
Walker-Donaldson is an Idabel resident and a graduate of Haworth High School, and news of her disappearance was widely circulated on state and regional media and via social media sites on Tuesday.
Family members had organized a volunteer search on Tuesday and told the newspaper that additional volunteer searches were planned.
Ricketts, a private security provider in Hochatown, said on Tuesday that there had been some attempts to use drones to search for Walker-Donaldson’s vehicle, though windy conditions that day had not been entirely cooperative with those efforts.
Ricketts said that on Tuesday afternoon he planned to use his private aircraft to search for the vehicle as well, later adding that one other plane was involved in the search.
He said that some search efforts had been focused on the Old Hochatown Road area, as some information he indicated that Walker-Donaldson’s vehicle had been seen turning east in that area.
Anyone with any information on Alyssa Walker-Donaldson’s whereabouts should contact the McCurtain County Sheriff’s Department at 286-3331 or other local law enforcement.