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FBI joins search for missing Washington County teacher missing for nearly a week

Updated: Jun. 2, 2021 at 6:36 PM EDT
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SANDERSVILLE, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - The FBI is now joining the search for a missing teacher.

These are new photos just released of Tina Prince at a convenience store in Sandersville. She teaches first grade in Washington County. These pictures were taken the night she went missing after she was last seen by her family at a restaurant in town.

These images show Tina Prince at a Sandersville convenience store — after she vanished.
These images show Tina Prince at a Sandersville convenience store — after she vanished.(WRDW)

Local law enforcement tells us they’re concerned for her safety.

Today marks five days since Tina Prince was last seen. Friday night around 9 p.m. she was at Puebla’s Mexican Restaurant in Sandersville. Her family says she went to take a call and never came back. According to a police report, her family called to report her missing about 24 hours later at 8:15 p.m. Police reported her car found on Sunday. Then Monday police went on a ground search for her. Yesterday GSP did an air search and no luck.

Her friends are praying for her safe return.

“We are a small, close-knit town,” said Kristi Jackson, a family friend of Tina Prince. “Nobody saw anything, and nobody knows anything.”

Tina Prince joined her family for dinner at Puebla’s Friday night. Now her picture is posted on the window outside.

Are you concerned about her safety?

“Absolutely, absolutely. Who wouldn’t be at this point?” said Brook Usry, a family friend of Tina Prince.

Brook Usry owns the salon next door. She’s known Tina since they were kids. And she just cut her hair a couple weeks ago.

“To me, she was the best she had been in a long time. She said that she just really felt satisfied,” said Usry.

Kristi Jackson who also works at the salon said she saw Tina at Puebla’s Friday night. She knows the family well.

“She was in a good mood. She wasn’t overly excited, and she wasn’t overly upset. She just seemed like Tina just as you see her here at the shop,” she said.

But Washington County Sheriff Joel Cochran says he is concerned for her safety.

“No indication of any foul play at this time other than that she just vanished,” he said.

GSP air searches came up empty yesterday. They requested phone data Sunday and they’re still waiting.

“It’s unfortunate we are having to wait this long to get these things (data, documents),” he said.

Deputies continue to search for leads. Yet still no indication of where she may be.

“Never would’ve expected her to be away from her children and her grandson, or her mother. Those people were her life,” said Usry.

The sheriff said they have spoken to several people. He says they called in the GBI and the FBI to help give resources to this search like sifting through that phone data once they get it. The community is planning a vigil at the Nazarene Church in Sandersville. It’s open to the public tomorrow night at 8 p.m. They plan to pray for Tina’s safe return.

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