Family of Cole Thomas continues search after arrests

Family of Cole Thomas continues search after arrests
Family of Cole Thomas continues search after arrests
Posted at 6:28 PM, Jul 18, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-18 14:48:42-04

SUWANNEE COUNTY, Fla. (WTXL)  - New details are being revealed in the case of a Suwannee County man who's been missing for months that could lead to long-awaited answers to his whereabouts.

Law enforcement agencies, took Julian Valles Jr., Rudolfo DeLeon Jr., and Anthony Ridell James Jr. into custody.

They are facing charges including obstruction of justice, and concealment of a death in the case of Cole Thomas from Live Oak, who's been missing since November of last year.

Millenium Park here in Live Oak is where family and friends of Cole Thomas have gathered a number of times, praying for answers about his disappearance.

And Monday, after months of waiting, a breakthrough, with the news of the arrests of three men.

WTXL spoke to Cole's family in January, more than a month after he had gone missing. His parents left everything they had and headed straight to the city of Benson, North Carolina, where they stayed for several months looking for Cole.

His family here in Live Oak, trying to stay strong.

"We're searching. We're not giving up," said Darla Gatewood, Cole's aunt. "We're praying."

"I love you, my dear grandson, with all my heart," said Gwyn Herrington, Cole's grandmother. "So, please come home to us."

WTXL spoke with Cole's grandmother over the phone. She said this is a very emotional time for the family, which has been overwhelmed with calls and messages since news of the arrests.

We also spoke with the police chief of Benson, North Carolina. He said the department is not providing any more details about this ongoing investigation, including whether or not Cole Thomas has been found.

Meanwhile, his family is back together in Live Oak, but they're not speaking with the media.

We do know that Chris will be making his way back to North Carolina on Thursday and that another search will be conducted over the weekend to look for Cole.

Cole's father Chris posted a statement on a Facebook page dedicated to finding their son:

On the behalf of my family and I, we would like to make a statement concerning the recent arrest in my son's case, Cole Thomas.

Today marks 235 days since our son Cole Thomas vanished from our lives, this has been the most devastating thing that has hit our family, ever. We have desperately waited for answers to where Cole is, we pray this will be the start of finding him.

We cannot express our gratitude to all those who have supported us through this nightmare and all who are aiding in bringing those to justice; there are too many to name.

We will continue to seek the truth and will not give up, not give in until Cole Thomas is home again and who ever is responsible for his disappearance or harming him is prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

Thank you for allowing us to keep our message out there concerning our son Cole Thomas; at a later date we will provide an interview, we have to allow time for the process.

Chris Thomas
Father of Cole Thomas