The search for Tynesha Stewart began bright and early Tuesday as volunteers were briefed on the case in northwest Harris County.
Tynesha’s mother, Gale Shields, was one of the first searchers to show up at command center.
Shields couldn’t help but tear up when details of her daughter’s disappearance were revealed by search party organizers.
“She was with a friend. She was staying with, um, a friend,” Shields said.
She and other family members spent the day passing out flyers with Tynesha’s picture on them, hoping someone has seen her.
Tynesha is on scholarship at Texas A&M University. The civil engineering major was home for spring break but hasn’t been seen since March 15.
Investigators say Tynesha was last seen with her ex-boyfriend.
He told authorities she was in pajamas when she left his apartment on foot at 3 a.m., cell phone and charger in hand.
Tynesha’s family is skeptical.
“He’s abusive, he’s very, very jealous,” Shields said. “He was older than Tynesha, and when Tynesha had told him she did not want to see him anymore, he did not take it well.”
Five days after she was last seen, sheriff’s deputies began combing a wooded area near the ex-boyfriend’s apartment in search of any trace of the missing coed.
Nearby, members of Texas EquuSearch used four-wheelers to cover more ground.
“We’re looking for clothing. We’re looking for her cell phone that she’s missing – any personal possessions that she might own,” Frank Black of Texas EquuSearch said.
At the command center, family and friends waited all day for any news. They believe Tynesha’s boyfriend knows more than what he’s let on, and are holding out hope.
“Maybe he hit her. Maybe he hit her too hard. Maybe she’s bruised up and he just has her someplace to heal, then he’s going to bring her home. That’s what I’m hoping,” Shields said.
Right now detectives with the Harris County Sheriff’s Office are talking with Tynesha’s current boyfriend. They say he voluntarily showed up at the command center and is cooperating.
As for the ex-boyfriend, detectives aren’t calling him a suspect. They say they have questioned him once and are working on talking with him a second time.