WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — The family of a Wichita Falls man who had been missing for more than 4 1/2 years is remembering his life after remains found last year near Corpus Christi were identified last week as his.
February of 2015, that was the last the family of Jessie David Barnes heard from him.
“He had gotten paid at work and it was the last day of his work,” Barnes’ mother Joy Amyx said. “He was going to go and pay the rent and fix his truck and be home.”
Barnes never made it home. Surveillance video showed Barnes getting gas at United Market Street on Feb. 23, 2015. Wichita Falls Detective David Raines has been on this case since the beginning.
He said the day after Barnes got gas, he was stopped by police for speeding in Freer, Texas which is west of Robstown. Raines said Barnes’ Ford Explorer was impounded because he had no insurance.
Raines said police took him to the police station and offered him the use of a phone, but he declined, pulled out a cell phone and made a call, then left without his vehicle. Freer police later ran the license plate and learned Barnes was reported as missing, but by then, he was gone.
No other confirmed sighting was reported up to when the unidentified remains were found three years later. Raines said when told Barnes had been in Freer, the family said Barnes told him Barnes once said he had always wanted to live on the beach in south Texas. Barnes’ half brother Chris Jenkins said he kept waiting for him to come home.
“All the way until Friday, I thought he’d just show back up,” Jenkins said. “Numerous times he’s left and come back. He’s always come back. He’s never been gone for that long. But he’s always come back.”
He never did, three years later in April of 2018, unidentified remains were found under a bridge in Robstown down the road from Freer. At the time police and Texas Rangers could not even determine if the remains were those of a man or woman and police said the bridge where his remains were found is sometimes a gathering place for homeless people.
It wasn’t until last week after the remains were submitted to the forensic science program at the University of North Texas that they were positively identified.
“Here I am hoping Jessie can be found and brought home,” Amyx said. “When Detective Raines come in he said that we have found Jessie but he is deceased. I know for the next hour I cried.”
Barnes had four children in Wichita Falls when he vanished, his mother believes they are with other family members, but she has not been allowed to see them.