Person of interest in Tulsa missing persons case captured after multi-county manhunt

John David Lee -- November 2017 mugshot (Pawnee County Sheriff's Office)

OSAGE COUNTY, Okla. (KTUL) -- Osage County deputies have arrested a man who set off a multi-county manhunt Thursday.

According to the Tulsa County Sheriff's Office, John David Lee is a person of interest in the disappearance of Kathy Hemphill, 52, last October. Hemphill was last seen at her home in northwest Tulsa but she's had no contact with friends, family or neighbors in months.

The sheriff's office is investigating Hemphill as a missing person and believe her vehicle may contain evidence in the case. TCSO says Lee was seen driving Hemphill's car Wednesday. According to TCSO, Lee is not considered a suspect in the missing persons case, but investigators want his help finding Hemphill's vehicle -- a white 2005 Chrysler PT Cruiser with Oklahoma license plate 113-HFG.

Cleveland police say Pawnee County deputies spotted Lee driving a stolen pickup truck around 10:30 a.m. Thursday in Hallet. During the pursuit, police say Lee nearly ran over a deputy who was on foot.

Police knew Lee was likely headed to an area called Balmer Hill where Lee's father lives. An officer pulled up right behind Lee at Balmer Hill and police say Lee rammed the patrol car, then took off through the woods on back roads and tried crossing the Arkansas River but bottomed out. That's when they say he ran off on foot in an area of Osage County called Boston Pool.

Osage County deputies captured Lee around 5:30 p.m. and handed him over to Pawnee County deputies. Tulsa County detectives will question him Friday about Hemphill's disappearance.

Anyone with information on Hemphill's whereabouts should call TCSO dispatch at(918) 596-5600 or the detective on the case at (918) 596-8681.


Cleveland police previously said Lee was a person of interest in a homicide case. This story has been corrected.

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