Details of Disappearance
At the time of his June 2021 disappearance, James and his wife, Anna Valdez, of one month were living with her mother in Booneville, Arkansas. They had moved in to take of her because she had fallen and broken her back. Anna's brother also lived in the house.
On June 10, James and Anna got into an argument because she decided to take an extra shift at work on her day off, when he would have preferred her to stay home. After Anna went to work, James went to her place of employment to talk to her, but she told him she was busy and didn't have time to discuss the matter, so he left.
Anna stated James went back to the house, packed a bag of clothes and $600 in cash, and left again in a 2010 Chevrolet Equinox which was registered to Anna. He never returned. The last sighting of him was on June 12, when he had dinner with friends. He told them he intended to return to Booneville, but he never did.
On June 19, James's vehicle was found abandoned by Anna's boss's husband in rural Sugar Grove, Arkansas, ten miles southeast of Booneville. He came across it by accident while visiting a family cemetery in the vicinity, and recognized it because he and James were friends.
The car was off Dry Creek Road, near a spot known as "The Swimming Hole" or "The Bluff." Anna went to the site and took photos of the car inside and out. She reported her husband missing the next day.
The car's driver's seat appeared to have been cut or torn, and had been pushed further forward than he usually kept it. Parts of the engine had been damaged/disconnected that hadn't been before. The keys and James's cellular phone were missing from the car. Some personal items, including clothing, may have been missing also.
When Anna's boss found the car, written in the dirt on the back windshield of the car were the words: "HE IS NEAR HELP ME". By the time the police got to the car later, it had rained and the writing was gone, but Anna had taken a photo of it.
Four local people subsequently said they had come across the vehicle on June 17, two days before Anna's boss found it at the same location. Two of them admitted they'd written the message as a prank. The four witnesses said when they first saw the car, it was running and someone was sitting in it, but when they came back to it a few hours later the person who had been sitting in it was gone and the car was no longer running. It was at this time that they wrote the message on the windshield.
A search of the area turned up James's insurance card, loose change and some clothing lying on the ground some distance from where the car was parked. His family's old home was in the general vicinity, but he would have had no reason to visit the area.
James's car keys and cellular phone had never been located. He did not have a carrier plan on his cellular phone, only wifi capabilities, so it could not be used to track him. A .40 caliber Glock handgun which Anna had bought for her husband is also missing. The Equinox was never processed by police for fingerprints or blood evidence, and has since been repossessed.
Although he would sometimes leave for days at a time, it's uncharacteristic of James to leave without warning or to be out of touch with his family, particularly his daughter, for as long as this. His case remains unsolved and his family believes foul play was involved.