Search for missing Houston exec ramps up

March 8, 2010 8:45:06 PM PST
The family of Sequent Energy Management President Douglas Schantz is hoping to find out soon what happened to the executive who has been missing for more than three days. Schantz was last seen leaving a bar on Bourbon Street in New Orleans early Friday morning. Police say they suspect foul play.

There are likely few more helpless feelings than what the family and friends of Schantz are going through. They are one state away while others investigate his disappearance, and all they can do is wait and pray.

"My family is distraught," said Douglas' son Michael Schantz. "I'm distraught, and in shock. We just really want him found alive and back with our family."

For a third day, the family and co-workers of Douglas Schantz are waiting on news from New Orleans. He disappeared over the weekend, last seen on Bourbon Street after a business dinner. Schantz was with co-workers presenting scholarship funds to Tulane University earlier in the evening.

"Doug quickly responds to text messages," said co-worker Pete Tuminello. "His disappearance is 180 degrees uncharacteristic."

Molly Naylor first met Doug Schantz a couple of years ago. The executive director of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation describes him as a magnetic man.

"You meet him once and shake hands and the next time you get a hug and you get a hug forever more," said Naylor.

She knows Schantz best for his commitment to philanthropy. He didn't hesitate to chair the foundation's annual walk last year. You could see him rallying the crowd near Reliant Stadium last fall. Schantz was drawn to the organization when a co-worker's son was diagnosed with diabetes.

"When he takes something on, he rallies his troops and they follow him out of respect and an admiration you don't really see in the business world anymore," said Naylor.

The 54-year-old president of Sequent Energy was last seen Thursday night on Bourbon Street in New Orleans. Schantz was with co-workers presenting scholarship funds to Tulane University earlier in the evening.

His disappearance has stunned his co-workers.

"I would like to ask for the community here and in New Orleans and nationally to pray for Doug's return, he has two wonderful sons and a daughter who miss him dearly and his wife," said Tumminello.

His son Michael spent the weekend walking the French Quarter, searching for any possible answers from those passing by.

"Really trusted everyone and it breaks everyone's hearts that love and know him that he is not with us at this second," said son Michael.

As the hours have passed by, everyone who knows Schantz shares that worry, including those who saw firsthand the philanthropist he is at heart.

"What a man. I can't believe something would happen to a man like that and we continue to hope that it didn't," said Naylor.

The FBI and US Marshals are said to be assisting New Orleans police in the investigation. Schantz's company is supplying private investigators as well, and today Texas Equusearch left for New Orleans to join the search.

"The first thing we're going to do is get a boat and sonar equipment in the Mississippi River to start eliminating that," said Tim Miller with Texas Equusearch. "There's no indication, no evidence he's there, but it's awful close and from what I'm getting he was walking in that direction."

More Equusearch volunteers will be joining the effort in Louisiana. Sequent Energy has added $20,000 of reward money to $5,000 that was already being offered as a Crime Stoppers reward. If you know anything about this case, please call 713-222-TIPS.


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