Earlier this week, federal prosecutors confirmed Love County Sheriff Joe Russell is under investigation by the FBI.
The news came to light as his son appeared in federal court for a criminal hearing, accused of distributing methamphetamine.
A private investigator thinks that alone should be enough for Russell to remove himself from the leadership position, but also believes Russell has hindered investigative efforts in the disappearance of Molly Miller.
Family members of Miller agree.
“Let us get the closure we need,” Miller’s cousin Paula Fielder said. “The sheriff has been our barrier in finding Molly since day one.”
In July 2013, 17-year-old Miller and her friend Colt Haynes were never heard from again after police said James Conn Nipp drove them on a car chase in Love County.
And Fielder said she thinks Russell mishandled the missing persons case.
“His cousin, Conn Nipp, was the last known person to be seen with Molly and I believe that he is covering up for him. I believe Joe Russell knows exactly what happened to Molly and Colt and where they may be," she said.
Fielder hired private investigator Philip Klein to give the case the attention it needed. Klein said his group, out of Nederland, Texas, has investigated more than 700 missing persons cases with a 90 percent success rate.
“We work hand-in-hand with law enforcement all over the United States and around the world … to find these missing persons. This is the first case that we have ever had where we have actually had a law enforcement agency, being the Love County Sheriff, that has attempted to thwart our investigation, that has attempted to hide evidence from us and who has attempted to intimidate witnesses,” Klein said.
James Conn Nipp was criminally charged in the case, but never named a suspect in Miller's disappearance.
“It’s exhausting. Day in and day out wondering and wishing and hoping and just wanting this nightmare to come to an end,” Fielder said.
And now, more than two years later, Miller's family believes, they're finally close to the end.
“The sheriff’s arrest, his removal from that office will definitely bring more answers,” Fielder added.
News 9 reached out to the Love County sheriff Saturday and did not hear back before the time of this report.