Harrison County

Pass man disappears on the way to hunting camp. ‘My dad has never done this before.’

Joey Moran has always been a family man, so his disappearance on July 14 is baffling.

The 47-year-old worked at his Pass Christian auto body shop during the week and put his phone away on weekends, taking his children on outings, enjoying family cookouts and relaxing at a hunting club in Hancock County.

He told his wife, Raegan, that he was going to the hunting club when he left the house for the last time on a Sunday. He didn’t take his wallet or phone. He was wearing socks but no shoes.

“At this point in time, we’re kind of at a loss for words,” Harrison County Sheriff Troy Peterson said Monday. “He didn’t have any phones with him at the time or anything that we could trace.”

“We’re kind of relying on anybody that has any information or can tell us something that we don’t know yet.”

His wife reported him missing as soon as she could, early on Tuesday, July 16. Late that same night, his Chevrolet Malibu was found abandoned on the westbound shoulder of Interstate 10 in Hancock County, about two miles west of Mississippi 603.

Hancock County sheriff’s deputies searched the car.

“We didn’t find anything that would help,” Sheriff Ricky Adam said.

Peterson said woods in Harrison and Hancock counties have been searched.

Joey Moran’s oldest daughter, 26-year-old Lacy, does not believe her father would have willingly left his wife and children. He has three children still at home, ages four, six and 12. He also has one grandchild, Lacy’s three-year-old daughter.

“It’s really strange,” Lacy Moran said. “My dad has never done this before. It’s not a normal thing. His kids are his world. My daughter was a part of that world. For him to leave, especially his children and a little grandbaby, it’s odd. It doesn’t add up.”

Peterson said anyone who might have talked to Moran or have other helpful information should call the Harrison County Sheriff’s Office at 228-865-7060.

Anita Lee is a Mississippi native who specializes in investigative, court and government reporting. She has covered South Mississippi’s biggest stories in her decades at the Sun Herald, including the Dixie Mafia, public corruption and Hurricane Katrina, a Pulitzer Prize-winning effort. Nothing upsets her more than government secrecy and seeing people suffer.
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