Nearly 7 weeks after Deonta Griffin went missing when he jumped from a bridge following a police chase, the Guntersville Rescue Squad has made the decision to discontinue underwater searches. His family wants answers.
Today is the 50th day since Terron Dabbs has seen her son. She said the hardest part is not knowing exactly what happened to him.
"I just feel like every day it's a bad dream. I know it's real but it's just so hard," Dabbs said.
Deonta Griffin, 20, has not been seen since he jumped from the Lurleen Wallace Bridge in Guntersville, where police say they tried to apprehend him. After 7 weeks, his family feels certain he never made it out of the water.
"I believe he is in the water. I know he's not alive. If he's not in the water, we don't know what happened. We don't have any witnesses. It's been so many sleepless nights," Deonta's Aunt, Shewanda Gaddist said.
The main thing they want to know is why a high speed police chase ensued when Griffin was being served a warrant for misdemeanor charges.
"He wasn't a criminal. He wasn't armed, doesn't have a history of being violent. So, why were you chasing him?" Wayne Gaddist, Deonta's Uncle said.
The family also wants proof that Deonta jumped from the bridge.
"I don't believe that he would have jumped. That's even harder, not knowing the truth, not knowing what happened."
Saturday they waited with optimism as the Guntersville Rescue Squad performed a dragging search of the lake. But at 1 p.m. they say that search came to an end due to a boating accident and never resumed.
"I just feel like we were cheated out of the search. We had rescue squads here that were willing and wanted to help us, but Mr. Myers was the head and he called it off," Shewanda Gaddist said.
Guntersville Rescue Squad President Frank Myers said, in a statement, that the search did resume, and lasted until dark. He added, "I have been with the Guntersville Rescue Squad for 36 years, we have put forth more effort, more resources and more money on this search than any we have ever done."
Myers said, at this point, underwater searches will be discontinued. But twice a day, visual searches will still take place.
Griffin's family is disappointed with that decision.
"I feel like they really don't want to find him," Dabbs said.
Griffin's family members are asking for volunteers to consider donating their time to help them search the lake.
Volunteers can find out how to help with the families search by visiting the search for Deonta Markey Griffin Facebook page.