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East Texas man still missing after 20 years

San Augustine County, Texas (KETK) - On this date on this date 20 years ago a man said he was going to Lake Sam Rayburn.

He hasn't been heard from since and the case is still unsolved.

On the morning of July 21 in 1997 Harold William "Bill" Roland left his family to go fishing but he never came back.  

"The (Texas) Rangers were involved and they requested our services to look around the lake, on the water, within the woods and over time we started finding evidence," said Major Jim Ranft, TPWD Game Warden.

Ranft worked on the case and recalls many agencies all working together such as: the Texas Forest Service, DPS, San Augustine County Sheriffs Department and the Texas Rangers.

A little more than a week after being reported missing Roland's truck was found, abandoned and burned. 

Then in August his boat trailer was found and in October his boat was found with bullet holes in the pontoons.

In January 1998 the awning to Roland's boat was found but that was the last significant piece of evidence found in this case.

"Somebody knows something and some will say 'we will never find out' well never say never, not in this line of work," said Major Ranft.

Whatever the reason for roland's disappearance his family, children, wife and grandchildren still do not know why he never returned.

"Whether Mr. Roland is deceased or is somewhere safe I'm sure his kids and wife would want to know these things, I would as a son and a parent," said John Welch, Chief Deputy of the San Augustine County Sheriffs Department.

"There's been cases older than this one that have been solved after many years that's what I'm hoping for, what we're all hoping for, to give the family some closure," said Major, Ranft.

Major Ranft hopes with modern technology something new can be found to finally close this case.

If you have any information, no matter how big or small, please contact the San Augustine County Sheriffs Office or the Texas Rangers.


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