CRIME
06/07/2013 06:03 pm ET

James Irby, Tennessee Man, Missing After Being Stopped By Police In Mississippi On May 4

A Memphis, Tenn., man whose family says has cancer has been missing for more than a month. The man was allegedly shocked with a stun gun after he was found to have marijuana in his car, according to local law enforcement and news agencies.

However, family members and the Mississippi NAACP are questioning what authorities said happened.

James Irby, 55, was stopped by a Walls police officer on the corner of Highway 61 and Church Road in Walls, Miss., on May 4, according Memphis news outlet WMC-TV.

Irby, whose mother has said was on his way to a funeral, was in possession of marijuana and a prescription bottle containing "illegal narcotics," Walls Police Chief Gary Boisseau told Memphis' ABC 24.

Irby was on the phone when officers found the drugs, Boisseau said. The officer asked him several times to hang up the phone and then discharged his stun gun, Boisseau told ABC 24. At that point, Irby ran away, escaping into a wheat field after being briefly pursued by the officer, he added.

Boisseau said he thinks Irby fled through the field and caught a ride out of town on a nearby highway. He says his K-9 cadaver dogs would have picked up the scent of dead body if Irby had perished in the area, ABC 24 reported.

But Irby's family, who say they have not seen him since, say that Irby was ill and could not have run far, as police suggest.

"James couldn't run that far on foot. He had gout real bad and he's got prostate cancer," Irby's mother, Ethel Allen, told local Fox affiliate WHBQ. "I've had all of my grandchildren, great-grandchildren and my nephews out there walking the field [looking for him]."

"He had never left home not calling anybody," Irby's girlfriend, Tonia Bryant, told the station.

The local police and Sheriff's Office also searched for Irby but to no avail.

To make matters more mysterious, Allen says a Walls police officer told her Irby fled into a swamp, according to WHBQ. Allen says the officer told her the traffic stop didn't happen at Highway 61 and Church, but a quarter mile down the road near a swampy area, the local outlet reported.

Also strange is that the Mississippi NAACP says local police told the FBI, which is reportedly involved in the investigation, that Irby was not shocked with a stun gun, according to WHBQ.

Although police dash-cam footage shows an officer attempting to stun Irby, the video does not definitely show Irby being struck. (The video does appear to show Irby fleeing from the officer, however.)

The DeSoto County Sheriff's Department in Mississippi did not immediately return a request for comment from The Huffington Post.

(h/t Reddit)

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