Gary Shannon Earp Jr.

Earp, circa 2017; Earp's pickup truck

  • Missing Since 06/01/2017
  • Missing From Marion, Virginia
  • Classification Endangered Missing
  • Sex Male
  • Race White
  • Age 45 years old
  • Height and Weight 5'8, 280 pounds
  • Medical Conditions Earp suffers form mental illness with symptoms including paranoia. He had spent a long stay in a psychiatric facility and was discharged about six months prior to his disappearance. He is classified as disabled.
  • Associated Vehicle(s) Toyota pickup truck (accounted for)
  • Distinguishing Characteristics Caucasian male. Graying brown hair, brown eyes.

Details of Disappearance

Earp disappeared from Marion, Virginia on June 1, 2017. On June 4, his Toyota pickup truck was found parked at a gate near the top of the mountain near Tumbling Creek, at the 25,477-acre Clinch Mountain Wildlife Management Area. It was still running, the door was open, and inside it was his wallet with cash and credit cards, his glasses and a bag of uneaten Hardee's breakfast food.

A photo of Earp's pickup truck is posted with this case summary. It was processed for evidence, but nothing of significance was found.

Loggers in the area said they'd seen Earp at the end of Tumbling Creek Road at 3:00 p.m. on June 1. Another witness reported seeing Earp in Saltville, the nearest town to the wildlife area, early on June 2. He was behaving normally at the time. The receipt for the Hardee's food showed it was purchased on the night of June 2 in Chilhowie, Virginia.

A search of the area around the vehicle turned up no sign of Earp, and he has never been heard from again. He enjoyed camping in the Tumbling Creek area with his family and had on a camping trip there just the weekend before he went missing, but he hadn't mentioned wanting to return there so soon.

In 2014, three years prior his disappearance, Earp had pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity on a probation violation charge from an earlier conviction for child abuse. The case was still pending when he disappeared. He missed a court hearing for it that was scheduled on June 1, and didn't show up for his court-ordered community service at a food pantry on June 2. As a result, a warrant was issued for his arrest.

It was uncharacteristic of him to miss the hearing; his probation officer called him a "model probationer" who had passed all his drug tests, faithfully attended his probation meetings and abided by the mental health requirements he'd been instructed to follow. It's unclear whether the probation and the criminal case is related to his disappearance.

Earp lived with his father at the time of his disappearance, and relied on disability payments. He had planned to ask the court to permit him to look for a job, as he wanted to get off disability. His case remains unsolved.

Investigating Agency

  • Smyth County Sheriff’s Office 276-783-7204

Updated 2 times since October 12, 2004. Last updated September 9, 2022; name, medical conditions and details of disappearance updated.