New clue in search for missing man

By Phil Archer - Reporter

LIVINGSTON, Texas - The search for a missing Magnolia man intensified Wednesday after his truck was found abandoned outside a motel in Livingston, but there was still no sign of James Earl Buckner.

Buckner, 57, was reported missing July 10 by his wife Kathy Buckner. She last heard from him two nights earlier when he called her from his motel room in Waco to say goodnight.

"He just said goodnight. He was tucked in and when he was on the road he typically did that when he got in hotel room so I would know he was safe." Kathy Buckner said.

Her husband frequently traveled for his job, selling valves for water treatment plants. But she said he always let her know where he was.

James Buckner was last seen around 11:30 p.m. July 9 at a Valero store in Montgomery, on the corner of F.M. 105 and F.M. 149, not far from his home.

The next day, a co-worker called his wife after he missed a business meeting. Kathy Buckner, who had also been away from home the previous two days, reported his disappearance to the Montgomery County Sheriff's Department.

"This is very out of character for him, to not be in touch, to not show up for work, to disappear." she said.

Texas Equusearch traced James Buckner's cellphone to Livingston, with the help of the Montgomery County Sheriff's Department. Volunteers initiated a search there Monday and discovered Buckner's truck parked outside a La Quinta motel at 440 U.S. 59 Loop South.

James Buckner had not stayed at the motel.

About a dozen Equusearch volunteers searched the area around the motel Wednesday with all-terrain vehicles, and an airborne drone equipped with a camera. Search director Jack Boggess no sign of Buckner was found.

James Buckner's wife said in the time he's been missing, he missed the birth for their first granddaughter and the couple's 32nd wedding anniversary.

Police in Montgomery and Polk counties are searching for him.

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