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Local 24 Exclusive: Walls Police Talk About Missing Mid-South Man, Investigation

James Irby vanished after a traffic stop in Walls, Mississippi on May 4th. His family fears he's dead and that police are trying to hide what happened to him. For the first time, the Walls police chief is talking about the case.
WALLS, MS (localmemphis.com) - Local 24 has exclusive dash cam video that reveals new information in the search for a missing Mid-South man. James Irby vanished after a traffic stop in Walls, Mississippi on May 4th.

His family fears he's dead and that police are trying to hide what happened to him. For the first time, the Walls police chief is talking about the case.

Chief Gary Boisseau says footage of the traffic stop and new search results from cadaver dogs prove Irby is still alive.

Dash cam footage was the last time James Irby was seen. "He had a felony amount of marijuana. He had a prescription bottle with illegal narcotics in it," Boisseau tells Local 24 News.

Irby was talking on the phone when police found the drugs. The officer ordered him several times to hang up.

"He says hang up the phone or I'm going to tase you," Boisseau says. "Mr. Irby ignores him. Mr. Irby jumps a little bit at that point. He says put that thing away. That's where the actual tase happens."

One of the darts missed Irby, who kept running across Highway 61, escaping into a field.

"Whenever we have a pursuit like that, and we're a small department so we usually just have one man on at a time, the officer followed Mr. Irby into a field far enough to see where he was going then turned around and came back out."

Boisseau is speaking to Local 24 to clear his department of misconduct accusations and release details of his investigation. He believes Irby is alive and on the run.

"We rode the wheat fields. We rode the tree line. It's a large area out there. And there was no sign at all of Mr. Irby."

Search crews and Irby's family spent Thursday scanning the fields off Highway 61. They found nothing. Boisseau says K-9 results show why.

"We just got these results." Two bloodhounds and their handlers tracked Irby this past Tuesday. Both had the same findings.

"Two different dogs. Two different sets that show him going in the field and coming back out catching a ride south on Highway 61," Boisseau says. "They had no cadaver scent whatsoever. These are trained cadaver dogs. They're trained to scent death even if someone has died and is underwater. These dogs have been used in felonies and murders. They are dead-on accurate."

Irby's heartbroken family swears they haven't heard from him.

"If he was anywhere, anywhere, where a phone was and he could get to a phone he would call me or he'd call his sister," says Irby's mother, Ethel Allen.

"He'd be like Little Bit, that's what he called me," says Viola Johnson. "Little Bit come and get me. And Little Bit would come and get him, but this ain't happened."

"I have no idea what his motivation would be," Boisseau says. But he believes he got picked up on the highway.

Irby's family isn't convinced. They're upset with Walls police for not talking to them in weeks.

Boisseau says he has good reason for that.

"Me personally and members of the police department received death threats," he says. "They were from extended members of the family. We know that beyond a shadow of a doubt. We're not prosecuting that. But at that point I just felt it prudent to shut down communication with the family all together."

Walls Police Department considers Irby to be a felon on the run. Boisseau says a U.S. Marshals Task Force is searching for him.

He also says the FBI cleared his department of any wrongdoing.

All of this is little comfort for Irby's family members, who are still left wondering where he is.

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