Update: Red Tompkins has been found safe. Click here to read the full story.
News 12 at 6 o'clock, July 9, 2007
AUGUSTA, Ga.---A national search is on for an Augusta man missing for close to two weeks now.
65-year-old Carl "Red" Tompkins, a retired mill worker, was last seen by his family June 24th boarding a bus in New Jersey.
What's odd is his luggage made it all the way home to Augusta but he did not. Now his family is retracing his steps from New Jersey to Augusta, desperate to find him.
News 12 caught up with his sister, Betty Crews and two children at the Augusta bus station, passing out flyers and asking questions to anyone who may know something. "We're trying to find our brother who's missing." explains Crews while handing the desk clerk his itinerary. "Here's the schedule, he left in June."
"As far as him getting on the bus, I don't know," says the clerk.
Carl Tompkins was last seen by his family on June 24th boarding a bus in Perth Amboy, New Jersey. Investigators say hours later he checked his bags at New York City's Port Authority. But after that, the trail goes cold.
His route home to Augusta included nine stops and three bus transfers.
His luggage arrived in Augusta with no sign of Carl and no clue about what happened to him.
"We know daddy would never ever do this," says his daughter Shirl Simons.
That's why they're traveling the same route, stopping at every point along the way to spread the word by passing out flyers, checking train stations, hospitals and morgues, trying to find him.
Their two day journey has led them all the way to his home in Augusta, with still no answers.
Fighting back tears, his son Carl Tompkins' Jr. explains his frustration: "It's been tough. I still believe he's still alive."
His family had hope the answer may lie in Fayetteville, North Carolina.
That's where his bags made the last transfer, but now they've learned baggage handlers could've moved his luggage for him at every stop.
"Every little hope we keep getting knocked back. It gets harder and harder trying to track him," says his sister Crews.
Now they're waiting to hear if his ticket was ever punched in Fayetteville, or to find out if he even made it that far.
Until then, hat happened to Carl is still a mystery.
"We're looking for you, we love you, and we're not going to quit," vows Crews.
His dagger Simons has her own plea. "Dad, wherever you are, please please call. I love you and I miss you."
Tompkins had no known medical conditions and had made the trip every year for more than three decades. Anyone with any information is asked to call authorities immediately.