Local News

Paratrooper considered AWOL

Posted February 16, 2009 4:35 p.m. EST
Updated February 16, 2009 5:34 p.m. EST

— Spc. Joseph E. Putnam is officially absent without leave, Army spokeswoman Sgt. Jessica Fimbres said Monday.

Putnam, 22, was reported missing last Tuesday after a night out in Fayetteville. On Friday, police said they had credible evidence indicating that he had returned to Arkansas and had been in contact with friends and family members.

Also Friday, police located a man who used Putnam's debit card hours after the soldier was last seen, but they determined Putnam gave the card and his personal identification number to the man, whose name hasn't been released. Police said they don't know how the two met or whether they already knew each other.

Fayetteville police have turned the search for Putnam over to the military and Arkansas authorities.

Putnam is from Bismark, Ark., about 80 miles southwest of North Little Rock.

His mother, Angela Stanford, said she hadn't heard from her son as of Monday evening. She said he suffers from post-traumatic stress syndrome from his deployment to Iraq, and she worries about his safety.

He is assigned to Company C, 2nd Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, part of the 82nd Airborne Division's 4th Brigade Combat Team. He was assigned to Fort Bragg in September and had recently graduated from the 82nd Airborne's jump school.