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Search for Reggie Carter continues

by Tom Chillemi

Reggie Carter of Remlik has not been seen since May 21, 2018. And, with no evidence of a criminal activity, Carter is still considered a “missing person,” Middlesex Sheriff David Bushey told Middlesex NAACP members during a meeting on August 28. “As of today, no criminal activity has been found,” said Sheriff Bushey.

The last confirmed sighting of Carter was at a residence in Remlik, where he was seen on a surveillance video and reportedly was “in good spirits,” said Sheriff Bushey.

Carter was reported missing by a family member on May 24. 

Carter’s personal belongings and vehicle were found at his house. “There were no signs of a struggle,” said Sheriff Bushey.

A cell phone, believed to belong to Carter, was found but it would not charge. The phone was taken to another law enforcement agency, which attempted unsuccessfully to make it work. There had been no activity on his cell phone after May 19, said Sheriff Bushey. 

Investigators determined his last banking activity was also on May 19.

Crime Line tips
Carter is described as a black male, 5’3” tall and 125 pounds in weight.

Sheriff Bushey said investigators have received more than 40 calls on the possible whereabouts of Carter. “We have researched everything and there is nothing that has led us to him,” he said.

Someone called and said they had seen Carter being put in a well, said Sheriff Bushey, adding that investigators have checked more than 20 wells in the county.

Another tip came in that Carter had won the lottery, raising the possibility that he had disappeared with the winnings. Investigators checked with the Virginia Lottery and determined he had not won, said Sheriff Bushey.

A tip from a psychic led investigators to a property in Stormont that was searched along with adjacent properties. 

Investigators checked hospitals, mental health facilities and morgues.

“As we get leads we follow up and if they lead us to anything we continue on,” said Sheriff Bushey. “They (investigators) are still actively trying to talk to some other folks. But as of now, there is nothing that indicates anything has happened to him that would require us to change it from missing person to another status. There is no evidence that leads us to any criminal activity at this point.”

Contact
Deputies have kept in contact with Carter’s daughter, who is his next of kin and lives in North Carolina.

Two types of things that could have happened, Sheriff Bushey said, are that Carter could have wandered off for unknown reasons, or “somebody did something to him.”

There are many questions with both scenarios, said Sheriff Bushey, who asked citizens with information on the case to call the Crime Line at 804-758-5600.

A $2,500 reward is being offered for information on the case.

Community
At the meeting was Carter’s aunt, Dr. Teresa Sutherlin, pastor of Lebanon Baptist Church near Saluda, who said she does not believe Carter would just leave and try to start a new life somewhere. “I’m not a gambling person but if I were, I would bet everything that he would never walk away from his family or us. My feeling is that someone has done something [to him]. More than likely it could be someone that he knows.”

Dr. Sutherlin said Carter would have told his family if he were leaving. She said he did not like going to Richmond and liked being in Middlesex County. 

Carter worked as a handyman and spent most of his time in the Middlesex area, said Sheriff Bushey.

Not talking
Sheriff Bushey agreed with Dr. Sutherlin’s feeling that someone knows something and they are not talking. “It’s probably someone who knows him well,” said Sheriff Bushey. “We can’t actively go after anything until we know more, and that’s why it’s important for the public to come forward and say if they saw or heard anything. Keep calling us; we will follow leads until we get something viable.”

Dr. Sutherlin said Carter was known to carry a lot of cash and when he went into stores he would let people see it. 

Video
Sheriff Bushey said investigators found nothing on store surveillance videos from the time just before and after Carter went missing. However, the last sighting of Carter was on video at a residence.

Also speaking at the meeting was Carter’s sister, Safonya Martin of Remlik, who said, “Reggie would never just disappear . . . when he went missing all I wanted to know was that the police department is doing all it can.”

She voiced frustration that more information had not been released earlier. “Today (at the NAACP meeting) is the most information I have received in the last two months.”

Sheriff Bushey said police protocol for releasing information is for police to talk with the next of kin. 

Dr. Sutherlin asked if the next of kin could sign a release allowing police to release information to family members in the Middlesex area.

Sheriff Bushey said that is possible. Immediately following the meeting he spoke with Carter’s daughter via phone about setting up a conference call with Dr. Sutherlin, the daughter, and himself to work out details.

“A terrible pain”
Dr. Sutherlin commented, “As a family we are committed to do whatever we can do. If there is anything we are doing as a family, or that we are not doing, if you would tell us, we will do it. It’s a terrible pain, no matter how many days go by, the night time is difficult for family because you imagine the worst and you need closure, because the thought of him just laying somewhere. . . .”

Dr. Sutherlin continued, “He is loved by his family. This community at large does not like a person missing and not having any answers.” 

Investigation
Sheriff Bushey said when a crime is suspected police cannot release some information. Police have to do more than just identify a suspect—they have to gather enough evidence to get a conviction, which can take a long time. Sheriff Bushey said there are two cold cases in Middlesex dating to the 1990s. He added that some of his staff are emotionally connected to cases they work and are frustrated at times to the point of tears.

Sheriff Bushey said TV police shows make people think crimes are easily solved in an hour. “That doesn’t happen in the real world.”

NAACP president Davelin Gresham said the NAACP supported the family. “You are not alone.”

Gresham thanked Sheriff Bushey for being “transparent” and sharing information that he could. “We will keep praying that we can find Reggie soon,” she said.

posted 09.06.2018

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