Originally created 02/22/06

Streat search finds few clues



WAYCROSS, Ga. - The search for the missing son of a former South Georgia state senator has yielded few clues, despite an extensive weekend effort by about 130 law enforcement officers and volunteers.

Searchers combed the woods near the Ware-Bacon County line where Donnie Lavan "Van" Streat Jr.'s abandoned pickup truck was found Friday.

Mr. Streat, 27, of Nicholls, vanished after leaving his job at the CSX Transportation Locomotive Service Center in Waycross at about 11 p.m. Wednesday en route to visit a friend in Alma, authorities said.

Mr. Streat never arrived. He was reported missing at about 2 a.m. Friday by his sister and his girlfriend. His Dodge pickup truck was discovered at about 5 p.m. Friday on a flooded dirt road in northwest Ware County.

There was no evidence of violence inside the truck, said Waycross Police Chief Tony Tanner, whose department opened the missing person case.

The truck was found a few miles south of Beach, a rural community a couple of miles inside southern Bacon County. The site is off a route routinely traveled by residents from Bickley in Ware County to Alma in adjacent Bacon County, Chief Tanner said.

The case has been joined by sheriff's investigators from Ware and Bacon counties and by agents with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

The missing man's father, Van Streat Sr., has been in close contact with investigators. He believes their probe of his son's cellular telephone records, and questioning of his co-workers and associates, have yielded "some pieces to the puzzle," said Seab Lastinger, who is married to the missing man's sister, Kelly.

The elder Mr. Streat served as a state senator from 1997 through 2002. Before that, he served four terms as a state representative and was a member of the Coffee County Board of Education in the 1980s.

The Streat family warehouses in Nicholls and Douglas provide more than 100 jobs at the peak of the apparel shipping season.

The younger Mr. Streat was last seen wearing his CSX uniform. He is described as white, 5-foot-10, 175 pounds with hazel eyes, brown hair, a mustache and beard.