Tommy: Let's get Jean Stokes home for Christmas

Tommy Tucker, WWL First News
November 30, 2017 - 6:52 pm

As I watch the news every evening I’m ashamed to say that the violence, hurt and harm that we do to each other sometimes dissolve into a blur. Occasionally, a story catches my eye or, more appropriately, my heart. Such is the case of the unexplained disappearance of 76-year-old Jean Stokes.

The story caught my attention, but it was her picture that grabbed my heart. I don’t know Ms. Stokes but her picture showed me a kind and loving mother, a responsible and caring neighbor and someone whom I would be proud to call a friend. I deeply hope I have a chance to shake her hand and welcome her home. The chances for that aren’t looking very good right now.

Ms. Stokes voice was last heard by her family on the phone Wednesday morning, October 11th at about 10:30. They haven’t heard it since . When her daughter, Darlene, arrived at Ms. Jean’s house she noticed her car was missing. Quickly after entering the home she sensed something wasn’t right and called the police. In a tragic coincidence, NOPD officer Marcus McNeil gave his life in the line of duty on October 13th. An already thinly stretched police department was stretched even thinner. Eventually Ms. Jean’s family was told by NOPD there were indications of foul play in the home.

From the day she went missing, Ms. Jean’s family and friends have relentlessly searched for her and pleaded for anyone who knows anything to come forward. Finally, two weeks after she disappeared, it appeared there had been a break in the case. Ms. Jean’s car was discovered by maintenance workers in a New Orleans East ditch. I can’t begin to imagine the grief and pain a family is feeling to hope that, if their mother is not alive, her body would be in the abandoned vehicle so they could at least begin the process of closure. But the car was empty. No clues, no Ms. Jean, no closure.

The story hasn’t changed much since then. Ms. Jean’s family has blamed no one, save whomever who is responsible for her disappearance, for anything. They have not complained. They have been extremely pro-active and diligent in their search for her. I saw Jacqueline Quynh’s update on WWL-TV, and the words of Ms. Jean’s daughter moved me to tears.

"Constantly scanning, constantly looking in my rear view mirror while I’m driving," her daughter Darlene said. The search is omnipresent, consuming every day, hour and minute of the life of Ms. Jean’s family and friends, as it should. The words that resonated with me most, though, were these. "Whatever part of her (Ms. Jean) that’s out there," her daughter said.  "We want it, we want it back." My mind is unable to comprehend what I would do if that were to be my mother and me in that situation.

Notice her eyes. Those are kind, caring, loving eyes; and her family’s sense of loss grows daily.  Ms. Jean's daughter's pain was palpable.

Somebody has to know something or have heard something. You can anonymously call Crimestoppers at 504-822-1111 and tell them what you know. You can also reach out to the family on social media by contacing Darlene M. Veal-Stokes. 

 We tend to want to help each other during the holidays. But for the grace of God it could have been your mother or grandmother. Please help bring Ms. Jean home for Christmas. Her family naturally fears the worst. Let’s pray Ms. Jean is alive somewhere.

"Whatever part of her that’s out there, we want it, we want it back."

Jean Stokes is missing


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