Overview of Tabitha Lynn Franklin
"It's just an empty feeling of not knowing where your mom is and not knowing what happened to her." Hannah Franklin, Tabitha's daughter (WAAY 31 ABC)
Tabitha Franklin, a young mother of three, vanished from Cullman County without any obvious traces on August 13, 2009. The last person reported to have seen her was an ex-boyfriend, Chris Poore.
According to family members, Tabitha had struggled with drug addiction in the years prior to her disappearance, but she was a loving and dedicated mother who maintained regular contact with her children. When days went by without her family or her children receiving any calls from her, they knew something was wrong.
At some point prior to her disappearance, Tabitha began seeing a man by the name of Chris Poore and, according to her family, the relationship was fraught with physical abuse. In an interview with Blog Talk Radio, Tabitha's sister-in-law Stacey recounted one such instance when an argument between Tabitha and Chris turned physical while the couple was in Michigan. Stacey stated the injuries were so severe Tabitha passed out. According to Stacey, Tabitha immediately returned to her family in Cullman County and filed a report with the Cullman County Sheriff's Office, but the charges were later dropped after Tabitha began receiving threats against her family.
On the evening of August 13, 2009, Tabitha was reportedly last seen wearing a black dress and waiting for a ride outside a home located at 1140 CR 1136 in Vinemont. According to her family, Tabitha had been living at the home with Keith Floyd.
Chris admitted to investigators he picked Tabitha up. He claimed he dropped her off at his place of business in Hueytown while he ran errands and that she was gone when he returned. However, later media reports claim Tabitha never made it to Hueytown.
Tabitha's family have remained dedicated in their efforts to locate her and have hosted several vigils and events to raise awareness, along with organizing numerous searches. Those searches led to a 2011 search of Smith Lake after locals began reporting clothing appearing around the time of Tabitha's disappearance.
"You might find a bikini where someone was partying a little too hard but this more of a wardrobe. This is somebody’s dresser drawer full of clothes. All the right size, all the same size." - Angie Cantrell, Walker County Search & Rescue (ABC 33/40)
In subsequent years, additional searches have taken place, including the excavation of the CR 1136 property's front porch in 2014, a search of a property on Mulga Loop Road and a trip to Illinois by Cullman Co SO to question several people related to Tabitha's disappearance in 2016. While current Cullman Co. Sheriff Matt Gentry would not identify who the interviews were with, he stated they were related to a person of interest who had been questioned in 2009 but fled the area after questioning. According to Sheriff Gentry, Cullman Co SO had conducted 14 searches across multiple counties between 2015 and 2016 with the assistance of multiple agencies.
The search for Tabitha continues today, and her now-grown children continue advocating for their mother.
"I feel like they've given up, like they're not even trying. They're not looking for leads. They're not doing anything about it... We have nothing to, like, remind us of her or anything." Dawson Franklin, Tabitha's son (WAAY 31 ABC)