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Search continues for 75-year-old Gulfport woman, missing since March 23

It’s been more than a week since 75-year-old Gulfport resident Dorothy Jean Burks was reporting missing, and the search continues.
Published: Apr. 2, 2022 at 9:37 PM CDT
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GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - It’s been more than a week since 75-year-old Gulfport resident Dorothy Jean Burks was reporting missing, and the search continues.

No search is simple. It takes a lot of planning on the front end to make the work on the trail end as easy as possible.

That’s what Alabama and Texas-based Geaux Rescue and its founder George Ruiz do best.

“We’re trying to reduce the possibility that she’s in a certain area,” Ruiz said.

A section of the search is right off Keebler Road in Gulfport.

That’s where Burks was last seen on the morning of March 23.

Volunteers, which included family members, spent hours on Saturday scanning the large wooded area and waterways just south of Highway 53.

Family members continue to hold out hope.

“I know the morale of the family is low and maybe even everybody that supporting,” said great-niece Tierany Houston. “But, we have all intent to bring Dot home.”

Ruiz, a Coast Guard veteran, is using his skills, high-tech tools, continuing training and statistical research to strategically guide the search, but his heart leads the way.

“That’s what we all should do. We should help each other out,” he said. “It doesn’t matter your religion, the color of your skin, your political beliefs, anything. We’re all humans. We’re all Americans. We should be able to help each other out.”

Houston appreciates the help.

“They reached out to me,” she said. “I think they say that my family was in distress, and they have been such a help counseling us through everything, telling us what to expect. Just being a shoulder and support.”

Ruiz is realistic about the situation.

“The terrain out there is very difficult, very difficult to get through,” he said. “Since she went missing, we’ve had a bad storm come through. It’s been hot like it is today, it’s been cold. So, we’re hoping for the best, but everybody’s prepared for the worst-case scenario.”

Ruiz asked that homeowners with Ring cameras check their video footage during the hours of 2 and 6 p.m. on March 23 to see if they recognize her because it could help pinpoint her location.

The physical search continues Sunday, but Ruiz said he will continue to keep in touch with the family.

If you want more information on how to help, you can reach Ruiz through his organization’s Facebook page.

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