MISSING IN EAST TEXAS: What happened to Lauren Thompson?

by Darcy Birden

— Lauren Thompson has been missing from Panola County for more than six months and there are a lot of questions surrounding her disappearance. 

Those questions Torie Colvin, Thompson’s mother, has also asked, especially when it comes to how the investigation is going.

Colvin sat down with CBS19’sDarcy Birden to explain what she knows regarding the case and she shares the final moments of her daughter’s chilling 911 call. 

you can see the broadcast herehttps://www.khou.com/video/news/what-happened-to-lauren-thompson-her-mother-speaks-out-about-the-case/501-6eaf8c05-208e-41fe-a02d-a75ab1f571b9?jwsource=cl

https://www.khou.com/video/news/what-happened-to-lauren-thompson-her-mother-speaks-out-about-the-case/501-6eaf8c05-208e-41fe-a02d-a75ab1f571b9?jwsource=cl

It started for Colvin just 20 minutes before Thompson made a frantic 911 call on January 10. 

“She called me and said mom, I need to speak with the kids and she was kind of frantic,” Colvin explained.” A few more things were said before her final words of the call, “and then she said, please tell the kids I love em’ and please tell dad, I love him and I’m sorry.”

In the call to emergency services, Thompson claimed someone was chasing her. The call lasted more than 20 minutes. 

“Eventually, our dispatchers were able to obtain 911 pings that gave us a vicinity of where she was,” Panola County Sheriff Kevin Lake explained. 

Colvin and her husband were allowed to listen to the 911 tape. During the call, Colvin claims Thompson said she was being shot at and she was running fast.

“At the end of the call, it was almost like someone had startled her,” Colvin said. “It was like [gasp] and then her phone was dead.”

CBS19 requested a copy of the 911 tapes, however the Panola County Sheriff’s Office declined the release saying it can be used as evidence later in the investigation.

Colvin has questioned multiple times why the call cannot be released if they have already listened to it. 

When officers arrived at the location given from the 911 call, they found Thompson’s car stuck in a ditch. They began to search for her and found one of her shoes that evening. Based on the location of the car, the 911 pings, and her shoe, it gave law enforcement an estimated line of travel to start searching. 

Since then, multiple searches have taken place in the area. 

“There’s been 80 to 100 searchers, most of those outside agencies that have come in to help us during the searches,” Sheriff Lake explained.

Multiple law enforcement agencies have helped with the search, along with K9’s and other search and rescue resources, but no community members have been allowed to assist.

“The entire area is private property, even where the car was located is on private property,” Sheriff Lake explained. “We have not had an issue with the landowners with law enforcement search teams being on those properties, but they are concerned about people they don’t know about being on their property.” 

Colvin says she has a problem with that answer. She says the first response she received from Panola County was they did not want to mess up any evidence. Then they said landowners did not want people outside of law enforcement on their property. However, Colvin says she has been given permission.

“The landowners say that they would have gladly helped with the search on their land, that they had no problem with people searching the land,” Colvin said. “But besides that, she’s wondering why other search groups haven’t been brought in. I have asked at least five times for them to have another search team come in and for the Texas EquuSearch team.”

Sheriff Lake says the reason the EquuSearch team has not been asked to come in, is because the resources are the same ones they already used.

The concerns Thompson’s family has don’t not stop there. 

There was allegedly conflict between Thompson and three people she was with on the property, leading investigators to believe she was run off the road.

Sheriff Lake confirmed there was paint transfer between the vehicles. 

He says Thompson and a man were in her car when it went into the ditch. The man told her to stay with the car as he was going to walk to his property to get his car and chains to pull it out. Sheriff Lake says when deputies pulled up to his house, they found him doing just that. 

Investigators questioned the man and the two others who were with Thompson that day. They even issued polygraph exams. Since that time, one of the men has died. 

Community members have claimed others were with the group that day, one of whom is related to a detective on the case. Colvin says she heard the same thing from Thompson’s friends. 

When asked about this concern, Sheriff Lake stated there has been no evidence the person they are referring to was ever at the scene. 

The Texas Rangers, the FBI and other law enforcement agencies are actively investigating Thompson’s disappearance, but at the end of the day, three children are still missing their mother.

“When they brought her car in the kids got excited,” Colvin said with tears in her eyes. “And they thought mom was home. I had to tell them no, remember, mom’s not here. Remember, we can’t find her, and they’re looking, they’re still looking for her.