The white Nissan Frontier belonging to missing Armstrong Atlantic State University student Bryce Daniel Tarter was pulled from a marsh creek near the university Tuesday. A body found in the truck has not yet been identified, according to information from a Facebook page set up through efforts to find the 19-year-old.
Tarter was last seen leaving AASU campus in his truck, wearing a dark brown jacket, white button-down shirt with a blue tie, and an Atlanta Braves cap. He was reported missing Feb. 2, and had attended a party in Statesboro just before his disappearance.,
Georgia Bureau of Investigation agents, local law enforcement and other searchers stood by Tuesday afternoon as the truck was pulled from Hoover Creek, near Bell's Landing, behind the AASU campus, according to Associated Press reports.
An autopsy is slated for this morning to confirm the body's identity, according to information from the Facebook page "Bring Bryce Home." The information was posted by site administrator Suzanne Higgins Brown.
Over 40,000 people have logged onto the site, and a massive awareness campaign was launched to find Tarter, with people riding horseback, on four-wheelers, on foot and in boats and other vehicles on several occasions to search for the missing teen.
Statesboro resident Clint Droste spearheaded "Operation Hope," a local effort to help find Tarter. Droste and is wife went to school with Bryce's parents, and after reconnecting with his old friends, Droste hoped to help find their son.
"I felt more could be done," he said. "I was frustrated for the family. But it is unbelievable how the community came together on this. People from South Carolina, south Georgia, in boats, horses, four-wheelers - it shows people are still willing to come together for something like this."
While no information was yet revealed regarding the body found in the truck, Droste said "We still feel quite a bit of relief at this point. At least we are a step closer to bringing closure. It is so tough not knowing - the family was not even able to grieve."
According to accounts from friends, Tarter attended a party at Georgia Southern University Jan. 30, then rode back to AASU with friends who live in a dorm there. He got into his truck around 5 a.m. and had not been seen since. Neither had the truck, which is a white Nissan Frontier short bed, 2000 model, with a black grill on front, tinted windows and sports stickers - Atlanta Braves "A" on the rear driver's side and an Atlanta Falcons decal on the rear passenger side. It bore a Maine tag.
Prayers and support poured in through the Facebook site Tuesday afternoon as the scenario unfolded. Additional details are expected later today.
Holli Deal Bragg may be reached at 489-9414.