VIENNA, IL (KFVS) - The effort to find missing cattle buyer Ron Shepard continues, as his partner finds his way into a Johnson County courtroom Monday afternoon.
Jeremy Pierce faced a judge in Vienna on a governor's warrant out of Arkansas.
Both Pierce and Shepard face charges of stealing cattle from Mike Nix, who owns two livestock auctions in Sharp County, Ark.
Shepard allegedly made the buys back in mid March, and paid with checks signed by Pierce.
According to the charges, one check bounced while payment was stopped on another.
Nix and his two daughters drove four hours from Ash Flat to Vienna for Pierce's court appearance.
Nix tells me, he hired a private investigator to track Shepard the day after he went missing in Goreville.
"He looked here and couldn't find him," Nix said. "And he went to Florida. And he (Shepard) was supposed to be in a trailer house."
"Did anyone physically see him in that house or around that property?" I asked.
"No they didn't," Nix responded. "But why would his wife take groceries in there?"
Like Patton Junction Livestock Auction owner Wayne Sharrock, Nix describes Shepard as a nice guy who won over his trust with numerous legitimate cattle buys over the past three years.
"I was brought up where your word meant everything," Nix said. "If your word's no good, you're no good. And, their word's no good," he said of Pierce and Shepard.
Nix has never actually met Pierce face to face.
At the end of the hearing, Pierce made it a point to come over and shake Nix's hand.
"Well, I thought that was nice, but he owes us lots of money," Nix said of the handshake. "And Ron Shepard his partner, the guy who came to Arkansas to buy the cattle, he shook my hand the first time he came there, too."
As for Pierce, his attorney actually asked to have his client served with an outstanding warrant from Florida.
Pierce and Shepard are accused of stealing cattle money belonging to FFA students after a fair in Levy County.
Attorney Tim Capps then asked the judge to allow his client to waive extradition back to Florida.
The judge denied that request, saying Pierce must face the Arkansas warrant first.
Pierce will be back in Vienna for that extradition hearing June 26.
He's being held in the Williamson County Jail.