Arrest Made in Connection to Case of Missing 911 Operator in Georgia

Walker County officials on Tuesday announced an arrest made in connection to the case of missing 911 operator Theresa Parker.

LaFayette police officer Harbin Chaffin was arrested and charged with making false statements to police in regards to the case, Walker County Sheriff Steve Wilson announced. Sam Parker, Theresa's husband, is a sergeant on the same police force as Chaffin. Chaffin is the next-in-line supervisor on the same shift as Sam Parker.

The arrest was made around 9 p.m. Monday night.

"This is part of the missing persons case the GBI has been investigating over the past week," Wilson said.

"We have made an arrest pertaining to this case," added Jerry Scott, assistant special-agent-in-charge at the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, which is handling the case. "The investigation is continuing, we're making progress in the case and hopefully, we'll have a resolution … in the near future."

Scott said the Parker case is a "very high priority investigation," and added "any progress we make is significant, in a case of this nature."

LaFayette Director of Public Safety Tommy Freeman, who serves as Sam Parker's boss, said it was "very unfortunate" that one of his officers who has been on the force for more than 10 years was arrested. Not only has he been placed on suspension while the investigation continues, but he also faces an internal department investigation, Freeman said.

He doesn't know if they were friends outside of work. The arrested man is in a neighboring county jail "for his own safety and for the safety of our staff at the Walker County Sheriff's Office," Wilson said.

Parker has been missing since the night of March 21, when she last spoke to a relative on the phone. Some of her family members have said they suspected that her husband, Sam Parker, had something to do with her disappearance.

The two were in the midst of a divorce when Theresa disappeared.

"We're still holding out hope we will find her safe," Wilson said, "but we understand and we realistically know that with each day that goes by, our chances of finding her diminish greatly."

Jonathan Wilson, Theresa's brother-in-law, told FOX News earlier Tuesday that the news of the arrest was "a great development," he added, "it isn't what we thought."

He added: "We are very pleased. It's not what I hoped, but it's going to be big."

Authorities on Tuesday began draining a large pond in their search for Theresa Parker. The pond is near the home of Sam Parker. The FBI has been aiding in some aspects of the search.

Police divers had searched the pond over the weekend, but investigators decided to drain the pond to inspect it more carefully. It was said to be deep and have brush and obstructions that made it difficult for divers.

"We felt like it was one we needed to search," Wilson the sheriff said Monday, adding that the pond will take a couple of days to drain.

Wilson and other family members had told FOX News that the GBI had named Sam a "person of interest," and that the family has the "green light" to go ahead and voice their concern about him.

Sam Parker's sister, Carolyn Wooten, gave a statement on Friday saying that he had "done nothing to harm" Theresa.

Sam Parker was expected to be back at work this week. But his boss, Freeman, said Parker has extended his leave until sometime next week.

The GBI executed a search warrant for Sam Parker's home on Saturday. It was the third search of the residence; Sam Parker had consented to the first two and was present.

"Sam has cooperated with the GBI each time the GBI has asked him to come in for the missing persons," Walker County Sheriff Steve Wilson told FOX News on Monday.

Asked if authorities were close to arresting someone in connection with Theresa's disappearance: "We are proceeding very cautiously with the investigation. We want to be sure we do everything that is right. I certainly don't want to put a timetable out there."

Christina Hill, Theresa Parker's sister, also told FOX News she had similar concerns about Sam Parker.

"I can honestly say that I do believe he's involved. That’s what I feel, that’s what I know in my heart," Hill said. “I know of an incident last year where she was really scared, she was really afraid. And she looked me in the eyes and told me that she was afraid that she was going to die."

Sam Parker had moved out of the home he and his wife once shared, and Theresa was in the midst of moving to a neighboring town when she disappeared.

FOX News' Sharon Fain and Joe Hirsch and's Liza Porteus contributed to this report.