Missing Augusta man at center of national search

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Update: Red Tompkins has been found safe. Click here to read the full story.

News 12 at 11, July 8, 2007

AUGUSTA, GA-- Investigators are looking all over the east coast for a missing Augusta man. The national search is focused on finding what happened to 64-year-old Carl "Red" Tompkins.

He went missing nearly two weeks ago after a trip north to visit family. It's a trip Red Tompkins has made every year for nearly 35 years, but this time he hasn't made it home. Now friends and family are wondering if he ever will.

"Everybody in the neighborhood is talking about it. Where is red? What happened to him? But no one knows the answers." says longtime friend and landlord Marlene Johnson.

After nearly two weeks, and no word from Tompkins, friends and family say they are fearing the worst. He was last seen by his sister June 24th boarding a Greyhound bus in New Jersey.

Investigators say a few hours later he checked his bags at New York City's Port Authority, but after that's it's still a big mystery. His route home included nine different stops and a total of three bus changes, the last one in Fayetteville, North Carolina.

Right now investigators say it's still not clear if Mr. Tompkins boarded the bus in Fayetteville or not. All they know for sure right now is that his bags made it all the way to Augusta without him and that's when they knew something was wrong.

"I'm just worried something terrible has happened. There's just no explanation for someone going missing for two weeks." adds Johnson.

Also worried is Tompkins' long time neighbor Jesse Major. He's shared a porch and a friendship with red for almost a decade. "I'm hurt. It's not like him. I believe some foul play went along somewhere."

But so far investigators say there's no sign of any foul play. His bags arrived in good condition and since he didn't have a cell phone or credit cards, there's no way to track his activity, if there is any.

Here at home, friends are passing out flyers and spreading the word all in hopes of finding him soon.

"Red just had a heart of gold and we all miss him and hope he comes through this okay. Whatsever happened, we hope he'll be returned back here again."

Tompkins family says he was in good health, with no signs of any medical conditions such as Alzheimer's. By all accounts he was a responsible person, which makes his disappearance all the more unsettling.

Right now his two children and sister are traveling the same route of his bus all the way from New York to Georgia. They're passing out flyers and searching local hospitals and morgues, but as of tonight (July 8) there is still no sign of him can be found.

Investigators say Tompkins was last seen wearing a gray shirt and gray sweater, black shoes and plaid pants. He's described as a light skinned black man, 5 foot 11 inches about 140 pounds with sandy brown curly hair and a beard.

Anyone with any information is asked to call local authorities.

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