Missing in Panola County Texas

While most missing persons are reported to police after a loved one realizes they are missing, Lauren Colvin Thompson’s case is different: Police were searching for her before she had even disappeared.

On January 10, at 2:24 in the afternoon, our 911 operator received a call from a female reporting she was in a wooded area and she thought someone was chasing her,” Panola County, Texas Sheriff Kevin Lake told Dateline. “We could hear background noise and it was clear she was running.”

Sheriff Lake told Dateline the female caller identified herself as Lauren Colvin Thompson and sounded “disoriented and confused” as she told the operator she had fled her vehicle. Through 911 phone pings, officers quickly obtained a general area of where Lauren had called from, and located her vehicle within a few minutes. It was stuck in the mud on the side of a road in the Rock Hill community outside Panola County.

“The 911 call actually lasted for 21 or 22 minutes,” Sheriff Lake said. Dateline has not listened to the 911 call, as authorities say it’s still part of sealed evidence in her case. While the 911 operator still had Lauren on the phone, officers were also able to get in touch with people Lauren said she was with earlier in the day.

“One person she was with told us they had been in the area, reportedly fishing,” Sheriff Lake said. The friend had been in the car with Lauren when he said she ran off the road. “He said he then told her he was going to walk to his house to get a vehicle to get them out of the mud, but then she took off running into the woods.”

(Average rainfall for Panola County last January was very high) Over 4 inches with the average temperature between 51 and 37.

I can certainly visualize folks in Panola County hitting the local ponds and creeks to go fishing last January.

So this person who was reportedly with Lauren in January said they were fishing……cold and very rainy that month. He said she lost control of her vehicle and it got stuck. He then walked home to get another vehicle to pull it out? You actually expect people to believe that nonsense? Did you check Lauren’s vehicle for fishing tackle, bait or fish? Did she even have a fishing license?

Sheriff Lake said although authorities are not ruling anybody out, they “have no information that leads them to believe” the people Lauren was with had anything to do with her disappearance. He added that authorities believe the 911 call Lauren placed only ended because Lauren’s cell phone battery died.


“Think about her a lot & praying she is found safe. Her car was found, but DPS helicopter searching for her picked up no body heat. Searchers did not find her. So was someone following her and did they take her??? There is stuff the SO is not releasing I’m sure, were there other tire tracks, foot prints, ect. People do not just disappear into thin air. They are taken. I was told the area she was in, is not a good area. ? Are there any near by houses ? Have they been searched? These are questions I think about along with her family. Prayers for a safe return & soon.”  – Cindy Stuart

The search for the 32-year-old single mother of three started that afternoon. Off-road vehicles and canine teams scoured the area, Sheriff Lake said, and officers remained on the scene through the first night.

The next morning, three hours away in Fort Worth, Texas, Lauren’s mother Torie Colvin awoke to missed calls from the sheriff’s office.

Me and my husband called them back and they asked if we had heard from Lauren,” Torie told Dateline. “I said no. They said they’d gotten a 911 call the day before, and she was missing.”

Meanwhile, the Panola County is not allowing
Texas EquuSearch to conduct any operations there.

What the critics are saying

A confidential informant within the Panola Sheriff Department tells us that all Search and rescue groups are being denied access. The sheriff only wants media coverage.

Another person who wishes to remain confidential told us Sheriff Kevin Lake had previously said an in an article about another missing elderly woman in Panola county in 2009 that he wished she would have dropped an article of clothing, or a shoe so that they knew if she was in the area or not. In a recent article on Lauren’s case, he told dateline that they found ‘a shoe’ and later confirmed it was Lauren’s. Was that the Sheriff’s attempt at saying, yes, she was in that area? Does this sheriff know more than what he is saying? Was that shoe placed there to throw everyone off track?

Ron Clinton was Sheriff of Panola County for 2 months before being charged and later arrested by the FBI and Texas Rangers. He had misused SO funds of around $810. Another source reported he was “rail roaded” for political reasons. Kevin Lake was appointed Sheriff and remains in the position today.

Even more bizzare they insist Kevin Lake maintains a private meat processing facility that at one time was open to the public. This was confirmed to be accurate. However the subtle accusation that perhaps missing people were disposed of there seems to be brazenly outrageous. More than one have suggested it. Did they get this from the Sopranos? Or is there something to this?

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The family of Lauren Thompson is offering a $5000 reward for information leading to the discovery/safe return of her.

Missing, Texas Single Mom of three, Lauren Elizabeth Thompson, 32, is a white female, approximately 5′ 5″ tall , and weighing about 135 pounds. She has brown hair and brown eyes. Thompson was last seen wearing dark colored pants or leggings and a dark-colored hoodie.

This family is going through a nightmare, and we are praying for the strength and guidance to support them, as well as the ability to bring Lauren home. If you have any information, please call 903-693-0333.

According to the sheriff’s office, search crews from DPS, Texas Rangers, Texas Parks and Wildlife, Texas Forest Service, and the sheriff’s office have conducted extensive ground searches. The Texas DPS aviation division also conducted a search. A single shoe belonging to Lauren Thompson was reportedly found in the woods.