Missing – August 13, 2009 – Vinemont, AL
27-year-old Tabitha Lynn Franklin, a young mother of three, vanished from the Vinemont/West Point area of Cullman County on the evening of August 13, 2009, just 33 days before her 28th birthday.
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 Tabitha did not show up the following Monday to drop off snacks for her daughter at school and days went by without her family or her children receiving any calls from her, they knew something was wrong.
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. Tabitha’s family vividly recalls one such instance in January of 2009 when an argument between Tabitha and Chris turned physical while the couple was in Michigan. The injuries Tabitha sustained were so severe she passed out and weeks later still had significant bruising under both eyes. 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.
At the time of her disappearance, Tabitha was living with Keith Floyd at a residence located at 1140 County Road 1136 in Vinemont. This is the same location Tabitha was reportedly last seen standing in the front yard wearing a medium-length black dress.
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 Couty 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 2016, and a trip to Illinois by Cullman Co SO to question several people related to Tabitha’s disappearance in November of 2016. While current Cullman Co. Sheriff Matt Gentry wAngie Cantrell, Walker Couty Search & Rescue (ABC 33/40)ould 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.
In October of 2016, Chris Poore was arrested by Winnebago County Sheriff’s Office (IL) after he brutally assaulted a teenage girl in a home he’d broken into. He is currently incarcerated in the Southwestern Correctional Center in Southwestern IL in connection with the assault along with various other criminal charges.
The search for Tabitha continues today, and her now-grown children continue advocating for their mother.
Learn more about Tabitha’s disappearance in Episode 7 of Unforgotten.