Reward triples for information in search for missing elderly man
HUGER, SC (WCSC) - The reward for information to help Berkeley County deputies locate a man missing since Mother's Day tripled on Friday.
Willie Herman Toomer, 78, was last seen at his home in the 2300 block of Cainhoy Road on May 14, according to Berkeley County Chief Deputy Mike Cochran.
The reward for information has jumped to $3,000, according to Crime Stoppers Coordinator Harry Sosa. A reward of $1,000 had been announced on May 18, four days after Toomer vanished.
A family member of Toomer's, former sister-in-law Dot Scott, believes he was the victim of foul play.
"I'm feeling that if someone had taken him, what would they be doing with him this long?" Scott says. "There's no way he would be comfortable ever leaving the house with someone that he didn't know."
Authorities have passed out fliers and have asked anyone who knows anything about his whereabouts to contact authorities, but so far there have been no fruitful leads.
"We have had quite a few tips and possible sightings but none have panned out yet," Cochran said.
"Whether he was walking down the street or stopping at a store or got into someone's car, it's going to be something like that, that's someone's gonna see," Crime Stoppers of the Lowcountry coordinator Officer Harry Sosa said.
What investigators have pieced together so far is Toomer walked to church on Mother's Day at approximately 8:30 a.m.
The pastor of Steward Chapel United Methodist Church said there was no indication anything was wrong that morning.
"Mr. Toomer just walked through like normal, going home like normal. So we had no reason to think anything different," the Rev. Shawn Chestnut said.
After church, investigators say he was given a ride home by a fellow parishioner who dropped Toomer off at his home at approximately 12:30 p.m.
That's where Toomer was last seen.
Family and friends became concerned, investigators say, when he missed his daily meetings with them that evening and the following Monday morning. Deputies say family members checked Toomer's home, which was unlocked, but found no sign of him.
Scott said his disappearance was "absolutely out of the norm for him." We hope whatever the situation is he's returned to us so we can bring some closure to whatever's going on."
Toomer is six feet tall, weighs 160 pounds, and is known to walk the roads near his home, deputies say.
"He has special needs and his family would like to be reunited with him," a Facebook post from the Berkeley County Sheriff's Office states.
Toomer is said to have difficulty walking and takes "small steps while dragging his feet," deputies say.
Anyone with information about his whereabouts should contact the Berkeley County Sheriff's Office at 843-719-4465 or Crime Stoppers at 843-554-1111.
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