Search is on for couple reported missing

January 15, 2009 4:39:13 AM PST
Search efforts are being organized for a northwest Indiana couple missing since Friday. Arthur and Latavia Joshua of East Chicago were last seen by friends at a bar in Gary. Police are investigating, and Wednesday night, relatives and friends are planning their own search this weekend.

The family of Arthur and Latavia Joshua is offering a reward and actively searching for the East Chicago couple. Along with being parents, the Joshuas are known for being hard workers. Arthur Joshua is a manager at an industrial plant, where he has worked for about 15 years, and he is often recognized for his perfect attendance. Latavia is a nursing assistant at Munster Community Hospital. Given that, relatives say, they wouldn't just vanish.

"I feel like I'm in a nightmare...and I feel like one day I'm going to wake up and my son and daughter-in-law will be coming through the door," said Charlene McFerson, missing man's mother.

And that's the hope Charlene McFerson clings to -- knowing her 39-year-old son, Arthur Shonteau Joshua Jr. and his 35-year-old wife, Latavia, have been missing more than four days. The Joshuas have a 17-year-old son and 15-year-old daughter.

"These are kids...this shouldn't happen to them. They are loving, they are good. This shouldn't happen to them. This shouldn't happen to my grandchildren," said McFerson.

"All of a sudden this - out of nowhere, for no apparent reason - is hurtful," said James Lewis, missing woman's cousin.

Wednesday afternoon, East Chicago Police are piecing together the couple's schedule Friday night into Saturday morning. Police and family say they were last seen in Gary, celebrating their 14th anniversary with another couple, at the Beer Belly Bar.

After that, police say the couple's ATM card was used during a transaction at the Tech Credit Union. They are checking video tapes to see who took out $40.

"If it shows the victim, the missing people, doing the transaction....that's one thing. If it shows someone else, it might lead us in a different direction and all the parameters of the investigation will start changing," said Sgt. Juan Beltran, East Chicago PD.

Police and the family members say the Joshuas were last seen driving a hunter green, 2001 Dodge Durango. They have an Indiana license plate that says "In God We Trust." The plate number is IZ542.

In the meantime, Joshua's brother is offering a $5,000 reward to anyone who has additional information, and he is concerned this may be a criminal case.

"If it is criminal activity, please let them go. They have nothing to do with nothing. They are just family. They are not about anything -- no gangs, no drugs, no violence," said DeAundra Joshua, missing man's brother.

There is also a possibility the Joshuas went to El Norteno, a Mexican restaurant in Gary. Police are still trying to confirm that information.

In the meantime, the family is planning a search on Saturday at 11 a.m. They plan to meet at the Tabernacle Baptist Church in East Chicago.


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