Even though it was his day off, Ellis County Justice of the Peace Chris Macon was in his office by 7 a.m. A childhood friend called around 7:30 and asked Macon if he wanted to help search for missing mother Emily Wade.
Wade, who works at a Chili’s restaurant and is the mother of a 7-year-old daughter, was last seen on Jan. 5, driving a 2012 silver Nissan Altima, according to the Ennis Police Department.
“I had a compelling feeling in my gut that I might be able to help out,” Macon, 50, tells PEOPLE. “A childhood friend of mine called — we spent a whole lot of time in that creek area and woods in the kids, and we know the area well. And he reached out and asked me if I had the day off and wondered what I was doing.”
Macon’s friend brought his kayak equipped with sonar capabilities, they planned to try to search the water for her body. “But the water was moving too fast,” Macon says. “So we did a foot search along the creek bank….after walking down the bank for 45 minutes to an hour we discovered the body.”
Macon found a woman police believe to be Wade on the creek bank around 11:45 a.m.
“It was surreal,” Macon tells PEOPLE. “I was awestruck. I was amazed.”
Wade is 5 feet 6 inches tall with blonde hair, weighing approximately 140 pounds. Her car has a split bumper with Kentucky license plates, according to police. She was last seen wearing a peach colored sweater with matching peach Nike shoes and blue jeans.
Ennis Police public information officer Lt. Mike Hopson tells PEOPLE police believe the body found was Wade. “The description fit,” Hopson says. “And she was wearing the same clothing.”
But they sent the body to the Dallas Medical Examiner’s Office and are waiting for results of an autopsy to positively identify her.
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Right now, police do not suspect foul play.
“I think maybe she drove into the creek accidentally,” Hopkins says. Her car was not located. “It’s in the water if it’s there, it’s deep water. The creek is really high. It’s been high. We got like two feet of rain two months ago. The water’s been really, high for the past few months. It’d be really easy to drive into that water.”
But until the medical examiner’s report is finalized confirming the body and cause of death, Macon considers this an ongoing investigation.
“I’m not looking for any accolades,” Macon says. “I had a feeling in my gut. I had the time to go do it. I knew the area well from my childhood. I thought the least I could do. I took this job to give to the community. And that’s one way I felt I could do it.”
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