When the search for 82-year-old Ray Foster began this past weekend, authorities asked pilots to keep an eye out as they took off from Hearne Municipal Airport.
Wednesday morning, a local crop duster spied Foster's vehicle from the air just beyond the runway, and when searchers combed the area, what they found permanently changed the complexion of this case.
"We're not going to discuss any evidence that we've found or haven't found at this point," said Hearne Police Chief R. L. Parsely. But when asked if there was indeed evidence found, he said, "We found some evidence, yes."
Evidence that leads investigators to believe that Foster's vehicle was deliberately placed underneath a tree 50 yards from the Little Brazos River, and that Foster may have been kidnapped and harmed.
He was last seen this past Thursday after dropping a friend off from church, but community-wide searches yielded nothing until Wednesday afternoon.
The pilots spotted the Dodge Stratus just before noon, and law enforcement combed the area until dark. Hearne Police and Fire scoured the Little Brazos, and the Department of Corrections brought dogs to search the wooded area, all for a man now believed to have been harmed and still missing.
"The gentleman was a pillar of the community, a Sunday school superintendent at his church, 82-years-old, World War II veteran," said Parsely. "Just a fine, very fine gentleman.
"Hearne is an extremely safe community, and this is the first time anything like this has happened in many, many years," he continued.
Thursday morning, mounted searches will begin, and a helicopter will also be brought in to try and find Ray Foster.