Letter: Former reporter recalls anniversary of disappearance

Dear Editor:
It’s been 15 years, and I still remember it like it was yesterday. It was one of those rare occasions in life, where even time cannot erase what you experienced.
It’s been nearly 13 years since I left The News and Farmer, and moved to report the news on the southwest side of metro Atlanta. Having done this work for 19 years this month, I’ve written somewhere north of 10,000 news stories totaling around 4 million words. 
Yet for all the events I’ve covered and all the writing that followed, there have been only two series of stories for which there is nothing close to completion or resolution. One of those was in Fayette County, the other here in Jefferson. And in Jefferson, it was the disappearance of Bill Farrer.
It was 15 years ago, this month, that Bill Farrer seemed to have miraculously disappeared from the face of the Earth. 
Can any of you remember anyone else in memorable Jefferson County history who went missing and was never found?
Even the body of one man turned up a couple of years after he was last seen at a motel on Hwy. 1. His remains were found by a hunter on the banks of Rocky Comfort Creek, a short distance from the steel bridge in Louisville.
But such was not the case with Bill Farrer. 
Had Bill been removed from the area of the fishing spot where his truck, boat and tackle were found on Rocky Comfort, or was he even there to begin with? Either way, and while I respect the work of the sheriff’s office, the suicide theory remains as untenable today as it was 15 years ago. Thing is, most people knew it back then. Remember?
And like 15 years ago, the silence surrounding Bill’s fate, still today, is deafening.
For quite a while I thought a deathbed confession might bring a resolution to the mystery of Bill Farrer’s disappearance. Yet for me, I believe that what was at play, what was at stake, preempted any such confession. 
In life, and even in the face of a real or perceived threat, the thing about the failure to tell the truth is that it promotes a type of enslavement of the person’s conscience. 
And, in life, acquiescing to the power of fear changes us, changes something inside us. In ways large or small, and for myriad reasons, this happens to everyone at some time in their life. It is something we know, but rarely admit. And it is something that can be overcome.
I say this only because there are those in this county who know more than what has been, thus far, admitted about the disappearance of Bo Peep. 
Nonetheless, left in the wake of the silence, now as then, are the answers to questions for which the family and friends of Bill Farrer may never get an answer.
Or perhaps they will.
Ben Nelms
Peachtree City