Deputies Search For Missing Delaware County Woman


Wednesday, September 28th 2011, 11:33 am
By: News On 6


NewsOn6.com

GROVE, Oklahoma -- The Delaware County Sheriff's Office is no longer searching property near Grove for the body of a woman who's been missing since January 1998 but says her husband is still a person of interest in the disappearance.

Investigators searched James Sweeten's property Wednesday. At one point they found an anomaly using ground-penetrating radar but say it was only a tree root.

They were looking for the remains of Peggy Sweeten. She hasn't been seen since 1998. Her husband, James, was the last person to see her.

"He seems to be a pretty upstanding guy. This doesn't make any sense," said neighbor Sherril Nichol.

Authorities decided to dig underneath this shed built by James Sweeten after ground penetrating radar found an anomaly.

It turned out to be a tree root and the search was called off late Wednesday afternoon. Court records show investigators believe James Sweeten played some kind of role in his wife's disappearance.

He told police that Peggy left the home in January 1998 after she met a man on the internet, but he didn't tell the couple's son until March of that year. He waited until June to file a missing persons report and remarried in December 1998.

Read the missing person's report.

Sherril Nichol moved near the couple a year later.

"We never knew about that, we never knew he was married before. We knew that Jim and Debbie got married, they were newlyweds when we moved here and that's all we knew. We didn't know he was married before," Nichol said.

Investigators say James and Peggy's son had suspected his father for several years. It was his effort that led crews to Sweeten's property and residents to wonder about their neighbor.

"We just don't know if we're getting the whole story. It's kind of scary that we've been here all this time," Nichol said.