Volunteers launched a search early Friday morning for a 28-year-old LGBT Houston man who has been missing for three weeks.
Volunteers joined with Texas EquuSearch, a search and recovery firm, on Friday at Norte Dame Catholic Church in southwest Houston to search for Darius Gatlin. His family reported him missing on Sept. 11 and said he was last seen wearing a pink and white tank top, short jean shorts and pink and white shoes with flowers.
“There is currently an active investigation into the case,” said Victor Senties, a spokesperson for the Houston Police Department. “We are still looking for him. Right now this is being looked at as a missing persons case.”
Gatlin, a Los Angeles native, is a laborer at Turner Industries and graduated from Newton High School, according to his Facebook profile. Police and EquuSearch have said Gatlin is biologically male but called him transgender based on information from his family. Gatlin's former partner, Brandon Reese, told Project Q Houston that Gatlin often dressed in drag when he stayed out overnight.
“I pray that it comes out well,” Reese said. Their relationship ended last December and Reese said he hasn't talked to Gatlin in two months.
Gatlin has several tattoos, including “Darius” and “Brandon” on his neck and “Aquarius” on his chest. Gatlin's burgundy 2013 Nissan Maxima has also been reported missing, according to a “Missing Person” flyer from EquuSearch.
The search firm issued an alert about the case on Thursday, asking for volunteers with ATVs and warning them to “dress appropriately for thick brushy terrain” and poor weather conditions.
The search started about four miles from 8700 Gustine Lane near the Southwest Freeway, the location where family members told police they last saw Gatlin. Witnesses told police they saw Gatlin in the 9200 block of Woodfair Drive sometime after he was reported missing on Sept. 11, Senties said. Woodfair is between the church and Gustine, a few blocks from Brays Bayou.
Police asked anyone with information about the case to call its Missing Persons Unit at 713-731-5335.