Disappearance baffles missing man's family

By Harve Jacobs  bio | email | Twitter

ST. STEPHEN, SC (WCSC) - For the first time since 46-year-old Joe Swinton disappeared from his Berkeley County community, his family is speaking out, hoping someone can help them find him.

"It's just tearing the family apart, tearing me apart," said Swinton's wife, Charlene Milligan.

"Not knowing is killing us, I mean killing us and I know it's killing his mother because it's killing me," said the missing man's cousin Lucretia Varner. "I don't know how much more of this I can take. I can't sleep."

Swinton was last seen on the night of Jan. 17 at his cousin's home. He left apparently to go pick up his son at his mother's house, but he never got there.

Berkeley County deputies found Swinton's truck Jan. 22 in a wooded area on Platt Road, a few miles from his cousin's house. A two-day search of the area turned up nothing. "I don't know what to think since they found the truck and didn't find him. My mind is mixed up," said Swinton's mother Mary.

The family said as far as they know, Swinton has no enemies. "I don't know anybody who would want to hurt him because he was a real gentleman, so that's why it's hard to figure out who would want to hurt him," said Swinton's cousin Gwen Varner.

Family members said Swinton has no medical problems. They are holding out hope the missing man will be found, alive. "I still got hope as long as they don't bring a body to us," said Lucretia Varner. "I know there's hope that he could be alive, but it's hurting us. It's killing us."

Anyone with information on Swinton is being asked to call the Berkeley County Sheriff's Office at 843-719-4412.

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