Christopher Bartell’s family and friends spent the weekend scouring the woods along SH 105 in Hardin County to look for any sign of the missing 40-year-old Liberty resident. The searches so far have produced no results, but his family and friends aren’t giving up.
The Bartell family plans to enlist the help of Texas EquuSearch this week, possibly as early as Monday, near the site where his wrecked car was found, about 1.3 miles east of the West Hardin ISD campus on SH 105 in neighboring Hardin County. The search is still being organized at this time, but family members, including Bartell’s wife, Andrea, say they will need community volunteers to assist.
The family is still trying to piece together what happened the night of his disappearance. They say that Bartell, an honorably discharged Army veteran, was home with his grandmother and daughter on Friday when he received a phone call and stepped outside. Bartell’s wife, Andrea, and one of his four children, who were assisting at the search on Sunday, said they have come up with many scenarios as to what could have possibly happened but none of them make sense.
“He is a family man. He is all about his kids. He doesn’t hang out or party. He is an honor student with a 4.0 GPA and he leads Narcotics Anonymous meetings,” Andrea said. “This is so out of character.”
On Friday, the day of his disappearance, it appears Bartell was traveling westbound on SH 105. For some unknown reason, he swerved onto the eastbound shoulder, reentered the roadway and then spun out his vehicle on westbound shoulder. Wildlife is prevalent in the area, so they suspect he might have swerved to dodge a wild hog or deer, and lost control of the vehicle.
His phone reportedly was found inside the car. His family says they have received conflicting reports from law enforcement about whether or not Bartell’s wallet and other belongings were also found in the car.
When an article about his disappearance was first posted to Bluebonnet News on Saturday morning, one reader said that she had seen a man walking along SH 105 near the crash scene around the same time. If that was him, it doesn’t appear that he made it as far as West Hardin schools, as he cannot be seen on any of the surveillance videos that were checked by law enforcement investigators, Andrea said.
Bartell is described as a white male, 5-foot 11 inches tall, weighing 200 pounds, with dark hair and salt-and-pepper facial hair. He has tattoos on his forearms that honor all four of his children. He was driving an older model Nissan Altima with dark-tinted window.
Anyone with information about Bartell’s whereabouts is asked to contact the Hardin County Sheriff’s Office at 409-246-5100.
As soon as more information is available on the searches being planned for this week, the details will be posted to Bluebonnet News’ Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/bluebonnetnews.