By CHERIL VERNON
Messenger Copy Editor
ANDERSON COUNTY – Friends are still holding out hope for the safe return of a missing Anderson County man as authorities concluded their third day of searching Circle R Lake east of Palestine Tuesday.
Cody Lusk, 37, a resident of the Circle R Lake community, was last seen at 9:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 14 leaving in his boat to fish, according to an Anderson County Sheriff’s Office news release. Several sources have said specifically that Lusk was putting out jug lines on the lake.
“His family received a text around 11 p.m. The Sheriff’s Office was called and he was reported missing at 9:30 a.m. Sunday morning,” ACSO Chief Deputy Troy Black said in the news release.
On Tuesday, four Texas Game Warden boats equipped with side-scan sonar units were used to search for Lusk in the 44-acre lake located off U.S. 84 east of Palestine.
“We’re still right where we were at this morning. We’ve done lots of searching but we haven’t come up with anything today,” Game Warden Captain Mike Hanson told the Messenger Tuesday afternoon. “We will start again in the morning, (Wednesday) weather permitting.”
Hanson said the search crew was planning to come in for the night before dark Tuesday due to issues getting the boats in and out of the water in the mud caused by the last few days’ rains.
“We found a couple of boats, one Sunday and one Monday, but they had been there a long time,” Hanson said. “They did not belong to him.”
Hanson also confirmed that items that possibly could have been from Lusk’s boat were found near the lake’s dam.
“We can’t say for sure if those items came from his boat,” Hanson said.
Side-scan sonar units receive a two-dimensional signal, which allows for a more detailed display image at a higher frequency, giving the image on the screen greater resolution. These differences are what allow for more vivid imagery of both structure and fish on the side-scan sonar units.
“It allows us to look down pretty far and see objects from a different angle,” Hanson said.
More than three dozen law enforcement and fire department officials were helping with the search on Tuesday, Hanson said.
“We also had another dozen volunteers who helped search areas around the lake’s wooded areas,” Hanson said. “Lots of people have brought food for the searchers.”
Among the agencies assisting in the search included the ACSO, Texas Parks & Wildlife, Palestine Fire Department and the 84 East Volunteer Fire Department.
Lusk is owner and operator of Fidelis Technologies, which according to the company website, is a telecommunications company that specializes in low voltage communications, VOIP, cabling, audio and video, troubleshooting and voice and data.
According to the company website, Lusk served in the Marine Corps for five years and specialized in ground to air and missal defense.
Lusk and his wife, Jessica, have one child, a daughter under the age of 1.
Lusk also is well known for his work as a volunteer and board member with the Christian organization East Texas Tres Dias, which holds its retreats at Frontier Camp in Houston County. Lusk also is active in his church, Evangelistic Temple in Palestine.
East Texas Tres Dias member John Angerstein is one of many of Lusk’s friends who are praying for good news – finding Lusk safe.
“We are all praying for his safe return and praying for peace for the family,” Angerstein told the Messenger Tuesday afternoon. “More than 2,000 people have went through Tres Dias retreats, and every one of them knows Cody.”
Angerstein said he met Lusk through the East Texas Tres Dias men’s ministry in 2012. The goal of the ministry is to deepen men’s relationship with Christ and their Tres Dias brothers, according to Angerstein.
“Cody is an inspiration, a strong, Christian leader. He’s full of love and energy, lots of energy. Even when I tend to be down he finds a good way to spin it. He always sees the best in people. He’s probably the most energetic man I know.”
Angerstein said Lusk has a strong love for his family.
“I saw him go from meeting his wife and proposing to her to them now having a little baby. He is head over heels in love with his wife and his daughter,” Angerstein said. “He can’t even talk about anything else. The other day he had showed me a video of his little daughter crawling around.”
Angerstein said he believes that Lusk is comfortable on the lake.
“Cody grew up on Lake Whitney and he’s a super athletic guy. I don’t think there’s a scrape that he couldn’t get out of,” Angerstein, noting that he’s hopeful that Lusk will be found safe.
Angerstein said many people who know Lusk have been praying for him and his family since they heard he was missing.
“We’ve all been praying. There’s no telling how many hundreds of people have met out there at the lake or other places to pray for him,” Angerstein said.
Anyone who has information about the whereabouts of Lusk can contact the ACSO at 903-729-6068.
UPDATE: Lusk’s wife, Jessica, posted a message on Facebook Tuesday evening, Jan. 17 asking for help from the public to find her husband. She said he was “last seen wearing cargo pocket blue jeans, an under shirt and a flannel button shirt either green or red in color. He was wearing a camo beanie hat with an LED light on it.” The photo published with this story is Lusk’s most recent photograph with his longer hair and beard.