Searching For Hopson's Body - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

12/3/2007-East Texas

Searching For Hopson's Body

Her accused killer is in jail, but so far, no sign of a missing East Texas woman. 62 year old Diane Hopson has been missing for two weeks. Van Zandt County authorities found large amounts of blood on her home's back porch, leading them to believe she is no longer alive.

44-year-old Johnson Burris is charged with murdering Hopson. He reportedly told authorities he was at her home the day she went missing. 

"It's shallow enough that we can actually look in," said Van Zandt County Sheriff Pat Burnett.

In creek beds throughout two counties, authorities continued this afternoon to search for Diane Hopson's body.

"It is important that we find her," said Sheriff Burnett. "Right now we are going on knowledge of the area and places he has told us he frequents."

The rural area is so large that game wardens have also been brought in to help with the search.

"The subject did fish and hunt quite a bit and so that leads to us since we do know some of the better places to fish and hunt," said Steve Stapleton, Texas Game Warden based out of Van Zandt County. "We have a large target area. Right now we are basing it on water and areas with water, which is probably half of the county. We are trying to target areas where this event might have occurred."

When arriving at different locations officials looked for certain things.

"Water depth, current, air temp, water temp, all those things will be relevant to our investigation and hopefully making a recovery," said Stapelton.

"She could be buried out in somebody's land, could be dumped in a creek, it could be anywhere. It's a needle in a haystack," said Investigator James Whitt, Van Zandt County Sheriff's Department.

So for now authorities are asking for your help.

"I have had some people call the sheriffs department and talk to me," said Whitt. "Citizens are our best resource we have in this county. Until we find the second half of this scene it is an open investigation."

Danielle Capper, Reporting.


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