Search continues for missing Spencer man with dementia

Published 1:14 pm Tuesday, February 12, 2019

By Shavonne Walker

SPENCER — The search continued Tuesday for Richard “Rick” Travis, who hasn’t been seen since he went for a run Monday afternoon.

A number of local and regional agencies continued to scour the area Tuesday for the 66-year-old Spencer man with dementia.

Travis went for a run and was seen just after 3 p.m. near his Long Ferry Farms subdivision. Travis is 6 feet tall and weighs 157 pounds. He is described as skinny with gray hair. He was wearing black pants and white knee-high socks.

Richard Travis

Rowan County Emergency Services Chief Chris Soliz said at a Tuesday morning news conference that agencies from several surrounding counties are participating in the search and they expect more resources from the state Emergency Management Office.

“We’re doing our best and working very hard to find this individual to bring him home safely,” Soliz said.

Soliz said searchers got some helpful information through reverse 911 and community residents that led them to several locations.

Searchers checked Travis’ normal running route with no results.

“We are in constant contact with the family, providing them with information and asking them for additional information also. They have provided us with his regular routine, his regular habits,” Soliz said. “We’ve checked all of those areas and all of those routes and still the search continues.”

Weather since Travis’ disappearance has been rainy and cold, which limited aerial surveillance. Still, searchers used drones provided by area search and rescue teams.

Soliz said about 70 to 80 people, including neighbors, law enforcement and other rescue personnel who have been looking. Other area rescue agencies and volunteers were on hand to provide a break for those who had been searching since Monday evening.

Greg Beam, a Salisbury Police Department officer, and Rick Travis have been neighbors for the past 10 years.

Beam said once people in the neighborhood found out Travis was missing, many of them joined the search efforts on foot and in golf carts in the area. Neighbors also joined in the larger search efforts throughout the area.

Greg Beam said he and several other neighbors searched their neighborhood when they found out Rick Travis was reported missing. They’ve joined the larger search efforts. Shavonne Walker/Salisbury Post

Beam said Travis is a great guy who is always friendly.

“We hope that he’s found safely. He’s been out well over 12 hours now in the cold, in the rain,” Beam said Tuesday morning. “We just want to get him home safely to his wife.”

Anyone who may have seen Travis is asked to call 911.