Woman disappears on Christmas Day; police search for clues


Samantha Ickes - Akron Beacon Journal (TNS)



MASSILLON — The family of Parris Hopson is hoping someone, somewhere knows what happened to the 26-year-old woman who went missing on Christmas Day.

Hopson, who lives in Columbus, has not been seen since she walked away from her grandparent’s Shriver Avenue SE home during a family gathering.

Massillon police are investigating the disappearance. Authorities have asked anyone with information to step forward.

Hopson was last seen walking toward Shriver Park, 1237 Third Street SE, just after 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday. She was wearing jeans, tall black boots with gold buckles, a magenta shirt with purple stripes and a black pea coat.

Her cousin, Rockelle Arnold, said Hopson appeared to be anxious and was pacing back and forth in their grandparent’s Massillon home, where family had gathered for the holiday.

Hopson told the family she needed to go for a walk to clear her head, Arnold said, adding she left behind her cellphone charging in her car.

After an hour, Arnold’s father went looking for Hopson, she said. A neighbor told the family he was outside taking gifts into his home when Hopson stopped to give him a hug and wish him a happy Christmas. She then walked toward the park, the neighbor told them.

Hopson’s mother, Rochelle Arnold-Hopson, said her daughter seemed tired from lack of sleep the night before and didn’t have much of an appetite. She saw her daughter walking toward the park just as Arnold-Hopson was heading to a neighbor’s house to visit.

Though the mother and daughter now live in Columbus, Hopson is familiar with the area and grew up in Massillon, Arnold-Hopson said.

The last call on Hopson’s phone was to a local pastor, asking if there would be a Christmas Day service, Arnold said.

Unsuccessful search

Search parties over the weekend failed to locate her, Arnold said.

Jared Chaney, of Lawrence Township, works with a group of volunteers who have three search and rescue dogs. The group offered to search for Hopson after seeing posts about the missing woman on Facebook.

At least 70 volunteers participated in the search for Hopson, Arnold said.

Jared Chaney and other volunteers began searching Friday evening and called off their search at 6 p.m. Sunday at the request of police officials, who were beginning an official investigation.

Each of the dogs led their handlers to Pearl Avenue SE and Erie Street S, Chaney said.

“It’s pretty tough because by then the trail was three days old,” Chaney said.

Arnold-Hopson went to the Columbus apartment she shares with her daughter to see if she had made her way home. When there was no sign of her, Arnold-Hopson said she returned to Massillon, adding she has both sets of keys for the apartment in her possession.

Officials in cities such as Columbus and Cleveland, where Hopson has connections, have been notified of her disappearance, Arnold said. The family has also contacted local airports, hospitals and transportation services.

A public Facebook group was created called “Finding Parris” where family and friends have posted updates on their efforts.

Det. Jason Gohlike, of the Massillon Police Department, said officials searched wooded areas on the southeast side of town Monday with the assistance of Burning River K9 Search and Rescue, a volunteer group with certified cadaver and search dogs.

Though officials didn’t uncover anything during search efforts, they are continuing to follow leads, Gohlike said.

“We’re taking everything that comes in and checking leads that come in,” he said.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Police Department’s tip line at 330-830-1735 option 7.

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Samantha Ickes

Akron Beacon Journal (TNS)

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