The partner and family of Brian Wehrle, missing since the historic September floods, canvassed Saturday in the Tennessee neighborhood where his car was found. He was last seen Sept. 23 in Carrollton.
Wehrle (photo), a 40-year-old land surveyor in Atlanta and owner of a farm two hours north, disappeared from his parents house in Carrollton Sept. 23 as floodwaters rose across North Georgia. He left behind money, his cell phone, medication and an overnight bag “as if he was going to be right back,” Jeff Rolsten, Wehrle’s partner of 13 years, tells the Chattanooga Times-Free Press.
Finding the car was a relief for Rolsten, according to the newspaper.
“I know that sounds strange,” he tells the paper. “But for me, what I was afraid of was that he had had an accident or driven off the road or hit some floodwater and was at the bottom of a ravine, couldn’t get out of the car or broke his back or something. And that was the thing that was just breaking my heart.”
Due to the flooding, a normally hour-long drive from Atlanta to visit his family in Carrollton in September took Wehrle five hours. He told his family that due to the weather, he would delay his return to Atlanta. Then he and his car simply disappeared.
Two months of guess work led to dead ends. The case broke on Dec. 2 when Wehrle’s 1992 Buick LeSabre was found with its Georgia license plate removed and replaced by a stolen Tennessee tag. Chattanooga police identified the vehicle identification number through the National Crime Information Center and got a hit on Wehrle’s missing persons report.
Neighbors told investigators and family during the canvass that the car was parked there about a month, according to WTVC Channel 9 News, the ABC affiliate in Chattanooga.
Rolsten and Wehrle’s sister and brother-in-law are expected to stay in Chattanooga passing out flyers with a photo of Wehrle and his car.
“We’re hoping we can stir enough people up in the Chattanooga community and find somebody that knows something,” Carollton police investigator Tony Johnson tells the TV station. Police suspect foul play, he adds.
Neither Rolsten nor Wehrle has any personal or business ties to Southern Tennessee.
“We’re all puzzled because no one knows anybody in Chattanooga,” Rolsten tells WTVC.
Wehrle is 5’7” and weighs 140 pounds. Anyone with information on his disapperance or whereabouts is encouraged to contact Carrollton police at 770-834-4451, or Chattanooga police at 423-643-5055. To remain anonymous, call Carrollton CrimeStoppers at 770-834-7867.