KNOXVILLE, Tenn — Update (Aug. 22, 2022): Jeremy Stout's parents said if he was going to come home, August 22 would have been the day.
Stout was reported missing on May 7. Investigators believe he might have disappeared from the Greyhound bus stop off Cherry Street in Knoxville.
On Monday, August 22, Stout turned 38 years old. He is still missing months later, and his parents, Lisa and Jeff, said Jeremy would never miss a birthday.
"We usually invite everybody over and have food and cake and we sing 'Happy Birthday,' even if they're adults," Lisa said.
"We think that unless he was hindered to do so that he would have by all means tried to be here with us," Jeff said.
Lisa has been praying her son would walk through the door into their Kingsport home. She also prays her son will someday turn on his phone and respond to her hundreds of messages and voicemails.
"I call his phone every day, throughout the day. It's always gone to his voicemail. It's never ringing," Lisa said.
Jeff said it's been a slow process waiting for investigators to find answers. The waiting is tough, he said.
"We think they're doing the best that they can. We were given a heads up early on that it is a slow process," Jeff said. "It's just been hard. Especially when you don't know what to do, but you want to do something. You just don't have anywhere to turn, it makes it hard. If we knew where he was, we would go get him and bring him home."
The Knoxville Police Department released a statement about Jeremy. It is available below.
"There is not an update that we can share publicly at this point. As it stands now, Jeremy is still missing, his whereabouts are undetermined and the investigation into the circumstances of his disappearance remains ongoing. Investigators are continuing to pursue all active leads in the case."
"Happy Birthday son, until we see you again. Happy Birthday and we're trusting God to see you in the near future," Jeff said.
The Knoxville Police Department is continuing its efforts in locating Jeremy Stout.
The 37-year-old was reported missing on May 7. Investigators believe he may have disappeared from the Greyhound bus stop off Cherry Street.
On Tuesday, June 28, investigators with KPD's Special Crimes Unit, Search and Rescue Team personnel and Public Safety Recruits conducted organized searches of several wooded and marshy areas around I-40 and Cherry Street, according to KPD.
The search was initiated based on a tip that was submitted to the East Tennessee Valley Crime Stoppers, KPD said.
A search was also conducted along First Creek in the Magnolia Avenue and Jessamine Street area. Those searches revealed no sign of Stout or evidence related to the case, according to KPD.
"Investigators fear the worst and have not ruled out the possibility that foul play was involved in Stout’s disappearance. Investigators are continuing to pursue any and all active leads on the case," KPD said in a Facebook post.
Jeremy’s parents, Lisa and Jeff, drove down from Kingsport when Stout was first reported missing to contribute to the search efforts. They hung missing person posters on Cherry Street and Magnolia Avenue to raise awareness for their missing son. The couple also offered a $3,000 reward for anyone who is able to bring their son home.
Jeremy has not contacted his parents since Saturday, May 7 at 5:37 p.m., the Saturday before Mother’s Day. That’s when his parents knew something happened to him.
“He always let everybody know he loved his mama,” Lisa said.
She said the two of them texted back and forth most days and called each other frequently.
“He calls me so much and texts me. He'll just send me out of the blue, ‘I love you, Mama,’" Lisa said.
Jeremy kept a close relationship with his family, even through his struggles with addiction and journey through rehab.
“I never gave up on him no matter what situation, I was always there for him and he knew he could rely on me,” Lisa said.
That’s why going home for Mother’s Day was such a big deal for Jeremy. His parents said he was so excited. Jeremy was supposed to catch a Greyhound bus from Knoxville to Johnson City, then from there to Kingsport. However, nobody definitively knows whether or not he ever got on the bus. Nobody has been able to get a hold of him or track down his location.
“He has not had any contact whatsoever with anybody,” Lisa said.
Jeremy’s phone went off the grid at 5:37 p.m. His last call was to his mom.
The Greyhound bus station in Johnson City was able to confirm through security surveillance cameras that he did not get off the bus.
According to KPD, “It’s still unknown if he ever actually got on the bus. Investigators have not been able to make that determination.”
Jeremy’s dad is confident his son wouldn’t have missed the bus unless something or someone prevented him from doing so.
“We know beyond the shadow of the doubt that he would have gotten on that bus. There's no question in our mind,” Jeff said.
However, one interesting element of the case is that Jeremy’s bus ticket was used.
Greyhound does not check the identification of passengers, so police can’t confirm whether or not the rider was Jeremy Stout.
Now, Jeff and Lisa are tracing Jeremy’s steps, trying to figure out if something could have gone wrong along the way. That means talking to people on the street and collecting phone records and credit card transaction reports.
“The last bit of information that we have revolves around the Magnolia Street KFC and the Dollar Tree where he made some purchases preparing for his trip,” Jeff said.
The family walked to those locations, hanging signs and testing theories.
They believe Jeremy may have walked from that area to the Cherry Street Greyhound stop. They researched the reputation of this stop’s location.
“I know that I would not feel safe at this bus stop right here with the conditions as they are,” Jeff said.
“This particular stop [Jeremy] was on. It's late at night and this is not a safe town section at all,” Lisa said.
It’s not the first time Greyhound heard these concerns. WBIR recently reported earlier this week that city officials were working with the bus line to establish a safer alternative.
But, with every passing day, Jeremy’s parents are losing their hope.
“At this point in time, we're not expecting a good outcome,” Jeff said.
“Whether it's good or bad, I need some closure,” Lisa said.
Anyone with information regarding Jeremy Stout’s whereabouts should contact East Tennessee Valley Crime Stoppers at 865-215-7165 or visit their website to submit a tip.