Deputies renew call for clues in 2017 missing person case

Published: Dec. 7, 2021 at 9:29 AM EST|Updated: Dec. 7, 2021 at 11:33 PM EST
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BERKELEY COUNTY, S.C. (WCSC) - Berkeley County’s sheriff called for anyone with information into the disappearance of an elderly man to come forward. Willie Toomer was 78 years old when he vanished without a trace on May 15, 2017.

“A man like Willie Toomer doesn’t just disappear,” Sheriff Duane Lewis said. “With the holiday season coming up we are hoping that someone will come forward and give us some information.”

“We just don’t want folks to forget that there’s not closure to this,” Dot Scott, his sister-in-law said.

She says she hopes if the case closes that the family can give Toomer a proper burial.

“We’re not optimistic about finding him alive anymore... but we do need to know what happened to him and for us to do what I know he’s deserving of,” Scott said.

Investigators said he disappeared after getting a ride home from a fellow parishioner at his church in the Cainhoy area at approximately 12:30 p.m.

His family told investigators he missed meetings with them and his friends that night and became concerned when they checked his home the next morning and found his house unlocked but no sign of him.

Toomer’s niece Darlene Taylor-Williams was his caretaker at the time.

“He was a person of habit,” she said. “[He] has a routine every day that he does, since he stepped out of that routine that’s when we knew something went wrong.”

Lewis, Scott, Taylor-Williams, deputies, and family members gathered outside Stewart Chapel United Methodist Church in Huger where Toomer was a regular member.

“This is not a cold case,” Lewis said. “This case is actively being investigated and we have received updates up until a month ago.”

“Makes you hopeful,” Scott said.

Investigators described him as a well-known resident of the Cainhoy community and said he was periodically seen walking along Cainhoy Road from his home to Singletary’s Store and to the church.

Anyone with information on his disappearance is asked to contact the Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office at 843-723-3800.

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