CAPE CORAL, Fla. -- It has been one week since Garrett Kern was released from the Lee County Jail. He's on the run, considered southwest Florida's most wanted and a person of interest in his stepfather's disappearance. His family told WINK News they were unhappy with how the investigation was handled. Cape Coral police said they're doing everything they can.
Police said their number one priority is finding James Arthur. His family wanted to know why Garrett Kern, the last person seen with Arthur, wasn't stopped at Hustler's bar on Thursday after a 911 call was made about a dead body in the car Kern was driving.
"There was no missing person at that time, there was no reason for the police or fire or anybody to be alarmed or aware of who these individuals were," said Lt. Tony Sizemore, Cape Coral Police Department.
Sizemore told WINK News when 911 was called and emergency responders went to Hustler's bar last Thursday, it was the first time any contact had been made about James Arthur being in danger.
"Once we got there, then we determined that there was a cause for concern, a BOLO (be on the look out) went out, our officers went all over the city," said Sizemore.
Hustler's is the last place Garrett Kern was seen in southwest Florida. Less than a hour before that, he was seen with this stepfather, James Arthur, leaving a probation appointment. Since then, the Cape Coral Police Department says they've done everything they can to find both men.
"Our search has broadened involving local law enforcement here, local law enforcement agencies throughout the state of Florida. Even nationally, there is different place within the country that we have been working with since the beginning with the US Marshal's Office," said Sizemore.
The Arthur family coordinated searches of their own. Volunteers spent Wednesday coming through an area north of Tropicana Parkway on Burnt Store Road.
"if the gentleman is here with us or has passed we need to find closure to the family," said Chrissy Danielson, a volunteer.
Law enforcement says Kern is out of the area and his family says he's likely heading to Illinois but their focus now remains clear.
"We want to find out where James is, take care of him, get him healthy, get him the help that he needs and we need to talk to Garrett Kern to do that," said Sizemore.
The family told WINK News they called off the search for Thursday because professional search team, Texas Equusearch, will be in Cape Coral Friday to help.