Missing woman found safe; negotiators keep her from harm

By Danza Johnson
Daily Journal

TUPELO – Police on Wednesday found a Tupelo woman who had been missing for three days, but bringing her to safety wasn’t easy.

It took several officers from the Lee County Sheriff’s Department and Tupelo Police Department and nearly an hour to subdue Pamela Pauley, a 55-year-old woman who police say suffers from bipolar disorder.

Lee County Sheriff Jim Johnson said negotiators from his department had to save the woman from herself.

Armed with a large butcher’s knife, the woman was threatening to harm herself and any officer who came near her, he said.

“We are happy to say that Miss Pauley was taken to the hospital and is safe,” said Johnson. “It was a tense moment for everyone involved because when you’re dealing with a mentally unstable person, it is hard to predict what they’ll do. But thanks to the help of the Tupelo Police Department, we were able to get everything under control.”

A Tupelo police officer had spotted a car on South Gloster Street that matched the description of Pauley’s. Maj. Anthony Hill said that because there was an order to pick her up, police were looking for Pauley.

When officers stopped traffic, the ordeal began. Traffic was shut down on Gloster in front of Blockbuster for nearly an hour.

“When our officer went to the car,” said Hill, “he saw a knife in the car. The officer started talking to her until a negotiator arrived to take over. She was a danger to herself at that time, so we wanted to make sure she didn’t harm herself.”

Hill said after several minutes of negotiating, the woman stepped on the accelerator and hit a patrol car.
It was at that time that officers entered through the side window of the car and ended the encounter. One officer received injuries from entering the window.

Tupelo Police Chief Harold Chaffin said a quick response by both agencies was the key to getting
Pauley out of the car safely.

She was taken to the North Mississippi Medical Center, where she is receiving mental treatment.