(Introduction to show begins)
TODD MATTHEWS (Missing Pieces Host): Welcome to Missing Pieces. I’m Todd Matthews and tonight we have Tonya Ashworth. Welcome, Tonya.
TONYA ASHWORTH (Guest): Hello.
TODD: She has a brother, Robert Lee Ashworth II, but they call him ‘Red’. How long has he been missing?
TONYA: This past March 12th, (2005), makes two years.
TODD: Wow. So we should just call him ‘Red’. Would that be okay?
TONYA: Yes. He’s been called ‘Red’ since he was probably 5 years old.
TODD: So Red was last seen at approximately 8:45 p.m., March 9th, 2005, in the Walmart parking lot in the vicinity of Market Place Boulevard in Cartersville, Georgia. Is that correct?
TONYA: It is correct. He went inside and he actually wired money to his little girl.
TODD: Uh huh.
TONYA: And that was verified because I got a phone call when he first went missing from the lady who said that he did the moneygram that night. She called me and told me that she had seen him inside.
TODD: So she confirmed that that was indeed him?
TODD: Rather than someone that may have taken his identity or…she knew him?
TONYA: Right. She said that it was him, that she saw him, and she told me where he actually wired the money to, which made sense because he has a little girl…
TODD: Uh huh.
TONYA: …in Missouri. He has a total of 5 children…
TONYA: …and he was wiring money up to his daughter for a dance recital and T-ball uniform.
TODD: Well, how old was Red two years ago?
TONYA: He was 24 then, he’d be 27 now…in 2005, he would have been 25, I’m sorry.
TODD: Okay. And you say he was actually in the parking lot of this mall and he was talking about a job in Chattanooga.
TONYA: Correct. When he left our house, he had gotten a call…because he does landscaping as a living and has for years, and he was offered $1,800 to go to Chattanooga for a 4-day landscaping job. I told him it didn’t sound right, it sounded really weird and that’s a lot of money, and Red is the type of person who will put his whole faith in, and he said, “No, no, it’s okay.” And my cousin took him up there because he didn’t have a car.
TODD: Uh huh.
TONYA: My cousin took him up there; she dropped him off, and she went to apply for a job and he went and wired money, and they came back out together, and she watched him get in a truck, a vehicle with 2 men that she didn’t know, and that was the last time that anybody from the family has seen him.
TODD: Of course she had a description of the truck, right?
TONYA: Correct. She said it was an older-model truck and it had an orange tailgate on it and that’s the best description that she could give to us. And she didn’t recognize either one of the guys he was with either.
TODD: So we think it’s a 1980s model Chevy pickup, orange tailgate with a large silver toolbox.
TODD: I’m cheating; I get to read your notes at the same time.
TONYA: Oh that’s fine.
TODD: It helps with this. Did he say anything to your cousin? I know you’ve gone over this a thousand times, did he have anything to say to her on the way that might have given her some type of impression that something might have been wrong?
TONYA: No, not at all. I do know that he was trying…he was going to go to this job, it was a make-money-quick kind of thing, which is what he was trying to do because, like I said, he’s got children, he was paying child support and his divorce had just become final. He had to pay $600 a month in child support so he needed that money and he needed that job. He was talking to his ex-wife over the phone and my cousin told me that he had talked to her a couple of times and he had called her and said, “Why don’t you just let me come back up there,” like he was wanting to work things out with her. Basically that’s the impression I got because I even heard some of his phone conversations before he actually left and it was kind of like he was begging. He was leaving and he didn’t care, honestly the way it sounded, he didn’t care how he got out there, he had to get out and he was leaving to go to Missouri where she lived at, he was leaving and nothing could turn him from leaving. That’s what he was going to do.
TODD: So, did he seem desperate? Maybe you thought he was desperate because of his children, or this divorce situation?
TONYA: I think he was…and also what I gathered from my brother, it just sounded like he was desperate to get out of Georgia…
TONYA: …because I know Lynda, his ex-wife now and mother of two of his children. He wasn’t getting along with her, they had a really bad relationship, they had just gotten a divorce. I know he wasn’t going to Missouri to really be with her, even though he was saying that he was. You could see through Red easily, like a plateglass, and he kept saying, “I want to be around the girls. I want to be around the girls,” but he was willing just to put everything aside and, like I said, he didn’t even have a car. He even told her, “You know this job is only going to last 4 days. I’ll have money. Come pick me up. I’ve got to go. I’ve got to go. I’ve got to go.” And she kept saying, “No, I’m not,” and what made it really weird was that just a week before he left, the same ex-wife had called me and told me that there was a hit out for him. And I said, “What are you talking about?” And she said, “Well that’s what happens when you mess around with other people’s girlfriends and wives.”
TODD: Do you think that there was actually a hit put on him?
TONYA: I think there could have been.
TODD: That’s pretty serious, you know a hit to be placed on somebody. That’s usually reserved for something a lot more serious than infidelity.
TONYA: Oh yeah. He had a girlfriend that had gone to jail.
TODD: Uh huh.
TONYA: And this girlfriend went to jail for a possessions charge and she was a pretty high-roller and had some pretty big people that she was linked to, and I had heard my brother, I heard him personally, it wasn’t hearsay, I heard him on the phone talking and he was trying to make a deal with the Texas County D.A. Office…
TODD: Uh huh.
TONYA: …that he was possibly going to turn in her big guys to cut her bond in half and get her out of jail. I can’t say that he was not, I can’t say that he told anybody, but I can say that I did hear him on the phone planning something because he was talking to the D.A., he was going to meet them and do that because he knew a lot of information on people that his girlfriend dealt with so that alone would be enough to make a statement like a hit on him come true. Also I’ve heard that he witnessed a murder of two other men that are missing.
TODD: Do you know the names of the two men that are missing?
TONYA: Yeah, the first one went missing in November 2004 and his name is Stephen Lankester Cox (Episode 67), and the other man that went missing was Clyde Daniel Stewart, his nickname is Cowboy. And Cowboy went missing exactly two weeks after my brother did in the same area.
TODD: Is that the same area where you live, right?
TODD: All this is happening in the same community then?
TONYA: Except for Stephen, he lived in another county, but that’s only 5 minutes down the road from where we actually live because we live on the county line.
TODD: Well how far are you from Chattanooga?
TONYA: I’m probably about an hour from Chattanooga.
TODD: That’s not very far at all.
TONYA: No, it’s not very far.
TODD: Not where we’re from; I’m in Tennessee too, so it’s just a country miles away.
TONYA: It’s just a country mile right down the road.
TODD: Do you think somebody killed him? Do you think that this is what has happened to him? Or do you think he’s possibly tangled up in a witness protection program?
TONYA: Well, I’ve heard a lot of stories and I honestly wish I could give you a better opinion of what I thought because I’ve heard stories that he’s in a witness protection program…
TODD: Uh huh. And that happens to almost every missing person’s case, that story does circulate.
TONYA: Go ahead.
TODD: I’m listening to you. This is your hour.
TONYA: There are…when his pictures first got put up, there were a lot of people who said, “Oh yeah, that’s the boy that got killed. He got killed. He’s dead.” And we’re working with this one organization now and she knows some friends of our sister’s and she just showed this friend my brother’s picture, two years later, and he looked at it and he said, “Oh yeah, he’s dead,” so nonchalantly, like it was no big deal. Red is very, very extreme with how family-oriented he is. Red loves his children and he loves his nephews. We didn’t always get along, which no family does, but he would never take himself out of our lives as long as what he has; his friends, him family, we grew up right here where we live at and this is the only place that we have known. So, I don’t want to say that I think that he’s dead, but to me that only justifies why he’s gone for so long because of what we’ve heard and the stories. But my Mom says she feels in her heart that she doesn’t think he’s coming back.
TODD: And I can relate to that because living in a small-town area like that, I’ve lived on the same property for 37 years, my entire life. So for people that are away from these small areas, it doesn’t sound normal, I guess, but it is, and if I was gone, something’s wrong, something’s really bad wrong. I’m not just going to…because families are tight, especially in the South, and you don’t just leave.
TONYA: And nobody knows you better than your family. Now I want to say that there is a discrepancy.
TODD: Uh huh.
TONYA: Red went missing March 12th 2005. We had a candlelight vigil for Red and the two other men that went missing, on September 14, 2005.
TODD: Uh huh.
TONYA: September 18th, actually it was September 19th of 2005, in the Cartersville 'Daily Tribune’ a little article was ran saying that Red was found and he didn’t want to be contacted by his family and he didn’t want anything else to do with us.
TODD: How did you find a way to explain that?
TONYA: Our investigator didn’t even call and tell us, we had to call him and ask him; he was very rude and he said, “Yes, he was found by an unidentified law enforcement agency for a routine traffic stop. He doesn’t wish to have any contact with his family, so as far as we’re concerned his case is closed,” and he hung up the phone on my Mom. And then my Mom has been back to try to re-open that case last year and the same officer told her that if she did, he would personally see to it that she went to jail for filing a false report. She said the same thing that we all feel, that he wasn’t found and you all didn’t run into Robert; Robert would not…nobody knows a family member like his family does, this is not typical behavior for Robert. And so, in our hearts, our gut instincts tell us that Red was never found, but it has been proven, I want to say also that there has been proven corruption in our sheriff’s department. It was on the front page of our paper and there’s a GBI agent involved and they’re both awaiting trial right now, and they both had something to do with my brother’s case.
TODD: So you actually did a valid missing person report; it was filed, correct?
TODD: You actually went to law enforcement?
TONYA: Yeah, it was filed in March 2005; my Mom filed it, so it was filed but it has technically been closed because nobody will re-open it for us.
TODD: But there is a report that says that he was found during a recent traffic stop?
TONYA: That’s what they say. We have been advised to try to get a copy of this report. We cannot. Nobody can locate this report for us. My Mom has been to the sheriff’s department to try to get a copy of Red’s file saying that there was a report filed. There’s nothing there on my brother. There’s nothing saying that a missing person report was never filed on my brother so if you went up there now to try to find that, there’s nothing. It’s all gone. Everything is completely gone that concerns my brother.
TODD: What does this make you think? What’s your theory with this? There’s got to be a theory. Why? Why would they tell you that he had been found if he hadn’t been found? What would be the reasoning behind something like that?
TONYA: To throw us off, you know, to get us off track with Robert, because I’m on this all the time. I mean we send out flyers and we tried to talk to the investigator every day they he didn’t want to talk to us and I think it’s honestly to cover up dirty police work.
TONYA: I think that’s what it is and the other two missing men, the Bartow County Sheriff’s Department has presumed them dead on national TV, but refused to tell their mothers anything; how they know they’re dead, how they think they’re dead, where their bodies were found, the means of death, anything, but yet they still presumed them dead. But their mothers are just like my Mom is going, “Where’s my son?” and nobody knows anything know. My Mom used to have people pull up in her driveway and sit there for hours, and she had to call the police, and it just got so bad, she ended up moving because it wouldn’t stop happening that people just kept pulling up to her driveway and sitting there. So she ended up moving and now her address is undisclosed and so is her phone number because she was scared.
TODD: Wow. And I’m asking these questions to help resolve it. I’m not saying it’s correct or incorrect, it’s just why, why would some of these things happen? That’s what I was trying to get to with that. What county was that in Georgia? Was it the sheriff’s office or local police department that actually dealt with this case?
TONYA: The sheriff’s department.
TONYA: It was the Bartow County Sheriff’s Department.
TODD: Okay. So, if I had information about this case, you know, if I’m a witness, or I found something, that’s almost telling me, do I not call them? Would they not be the valid contact for information in this case? Or will they even talk to me?
TONYA: If you found something and you want to call and tell them, that’s been a big…I don’t know the word for it, I guess it’s going to be a dilemma for my Mom and the rest of the family, if you found something or somebody wants to give a tip and you call the sheriff’s department but the sheriff’s department is not willing to help us.
TODD: Uh huh.
TONYA: Like I said, they had threatened to put my mother in jail because of it because she wanted to re-open this missing person report and I heard the investigator tell her, “If you do it, I’ll see to it personally that you are in jail,” and we thought, “Well that’s weird. Why would you do that when we’re trying to find our loved one?” So, I got some flyers made that we will pass out tomorrow. It’s got my number on there and the agency that we’re working with, their number also. I don’t mind my number getting out because I’ll do anything I can to find my brother. But the question has also been asked, and I want to make that clear, that if Robert is out there, and if what the police have told us is true, I’ll respect that with every bit of his wishes; in my heart, I don’t I don’t feel like it’s true, but it’s been asked of me, “Well, what if it is true? Will you back off?” As long as there is someone there who can positively identify that it is my brother, and not just somebody imitating his voice or has taken his identity saying, “Okay back off now.” I want to know that it is Robert saying that.
TODD: So if we could do that, if somebody could do that for you, if there was proof beyond doubt that it was him and he wanted to be left alone, could you live like that?
TONYA: Could I live like that?
TODD: Could you live like that? Could you actually do that if he said, “I don’t want any contact with you”? And I’ve seen a case like this, as a matter of fact. “It’s impossible for me to have communication with you guys right now. I want you to stop.” Could you do it with no further explanation if you knew it was him?
TONYA: If I knew without a doubt that it was him, yes. Because then I would know that he was okay.
TODD: I have to ask you another question. The flyers that you’re passing out tomorrow, is that going to cause problems for your mother? You say that they’ve threatened to arrest her.
TONYA: No, because this is all in my hands now and she’s not talking to anyone.
TODD: Uh huh.
TONYA: Robert’s got a MySpace website now and she had left it completely in my hands because I told her that I don’t want to put her in jeopardy that way and I’m willing to face whatever comes from this. She’s aware of everything that goes on and she completely supports me and she has my backing and she says that she wants to stress that it doesn’t mean that she’s any less involved with Red’s case, but she doesn’t want harm coming her way either.
TODD: This is crazy though; it’s an unusual case. So, as far as law enforcement is concerned right now, there is nobody looking for him other than you guys, correct?
TODD: This is it.
TONYA: And a non-profit agency; there’s a non-profit agency that’s helping us also.
TODD: Can you say who they are?
TONYA: Oh yes, it’s ‘Lighting The Way Home’. They’re on Red’s MySpace also, (http://www.myspace.com/lightingthewayhome). It’s a new non-profit agency to help with missing Georgians, and Red is actually their first case, so I’m really pleased to have them on board with us, and the people we are working with, Lisa and Christine, and all them are really wonderful people and doing a great job, and I feel like we’re getting more help now than from what we ever got when he first disappeared.
TODD: Now, what about a tip, say this radio show generates a tip; how much faith do you have that if somebody has a tip and calls local law enforcement, are they going to come back at you? Do you think that’s possible?
TONYA: You know, Todd, I guess anything in this world is possible. I guess the better question is, will I be willing to…am I ready to deal with that? And the answer is, yes, that’s my brother. And if that means that they want to put heat on me or put me in jail because I’m trying to start a search, then by all means, here I am, come get me. But I hope that they’ll be prepared for the national media attention that they will get because they put me in jail for nothing I’ve done wrong.
TODD: Now, the candlelight vigil, can you tell me about that? Who put that on for you? Who helped you with that?
TONYA: My mother and the two missing men’s mothers, they got together and they did the whole thing by themselves. They had balloons; they had little tags to attach to the balloons with all three of the men’s pictures on them. The newspaper was there because they had called the newspaper to let them know it was going on. There was a great big board for Red and Cowboy and Stephen, and everybody got to sign their names to the board. It was held at Dellinger Park in Cartersville, Bartow County, Georgia, and there were some songs that were sang for Robert and Cowboy and Stephen, and like I said, it was something that was orchestrated between the three Moms. My Mom and those two boys’ mothers, they just got together because they knew that all three boys were missing, and everyone pulled together and it was a really huge turnout.
TODD: How did law enforcement respond to that? Or did they even acknowledge that it happened?
TONYA: They didn’t even acknowledge that it happened. Nothing. But then after the vigil, that was on a Wednesday night, it was on Sunday that my brother ‘supposedly’ was found, because I read it in the paper that following Monday. And that was something else that my Mom said was that you go from March to September; you’re putting flyers out, and there are balloons out, all these things and nobody can find him, but 4 days after a vigil, who is this unidentified law enforcement agency? Why couldn’t they say that State Patrol found him? Or a city found him, or something? If they found him during a routine traffic stop, why didn’t the investigator call my Mom and say, “Hey, we found your son but he doesn’t want anything to do with you, but we found him.” The investigator didn’t even do that. My Mom had to call because she was at work that Monday, and she had heard from everybody, “You must be relieved that he was found,” and she said, “What are you talking about?” “Well they found him last night,” and she was like, “What are you talking about?” She called me and asked me to go get a paper and read it. I did and I found it, it was on the fourth page back and it was several paragraphs and it said that a Bartow County man that was missing was found by an unidentified law enforcement agency, and that he wishes for his location to not be known. When my Mom got home, she called our investigator, and that’s when he…I consider it to be very rude because he didn’t give her a chance to say a word, before he hung up on her.
TODD: Do you still have that article? I guess you do, though?
TONYA: Yes, I have all of Red’s articles.
TODD: Is that something that I could get a scan of, of that particular article?
TONYA: You sure can.
TODD: Okay, we’ll get that then we’ll work on that after the show. Do you know who placed that ad? It’s almost indicating that he himself placed this ad.
TONYA: You know it’s really funny, also, that you mentioned that because I’ve been working with two…I’m not saying that I believe in psychic investigators…
TODD: Uh huh.
TONYA: …and I’m not saying that I don’t believe in them; I’m kind of on the fence, but I’ve talked to two of them, and one of them told me to contact the paper to find out who wrote the article, like you just asked, and I’ve called the paper twice now, and both times they gave me, “Nobody worked there for the past 2 or 3 years. Anybody that might have written the article, doesn’t still work here. We don’t keep anybody in the office that long, they usually go to different jobs.” I said, “I don’t care if they’re still there or not, I just want to know who wrote the article. You can find that out for me real quick instead of me having to dig through all my stuff.” And they said, “Okay, give me your name and number and we’ll call you back with the writer,” and I said, “Okay, great.” That was about 3 ½ weeks ago and they still have not called me back.
TODD: Wow. And the name of that newspaper was?
TONYA: The Cartersville ‘Daily Tribune.’
TODD: Okay. And I ask you questions that I already know the answers to sometimes because I’m trying to get you to spell things out. Wow, so…
TONYA: That’s fine.
TODD: This is a crazy case.
TONYA: It’s very, very crazy, and there are a lot of twist and turns, and a lot of stuff that doesn’t make sense. When you add one and one up in a scenario, you’re getting twelve, not two, and that makes it really weird. And you would have to know a person to know that…my brother was born in 1980 and I have been around him my entire life, and I know Robert as well as I know my children, and I cannot stress enough that this is so uncharacteristic of Robert. He hasn’t seen his children, which has been rumored that he’s seen his kids; I’ve talked to his kids, he’s got little, tiny kids and they’re the age, Todd, that they’re so little that they don’t keep secrets, you know. Three and 4, and 5, and 6-year-olds don’t keep secrets very well. He’s not seen any of his children.
TODD: So you do have access to his children, then?
TODD: Nobody has blocked that off?
TONYA: No. No. Actually his two little girls are on his MySpace page with him.
TODD: Uh huh.
TONYA: They’re living with their grandmother now in Missouri because the mother was proved to be unfit; she got into drugs really bad and the court took the children away and then the grandmother stepped in, which was the mother’s mother, and she stepped in and took custody of the kids in Missouri, so that’s why the kids are staying in Missouri, and I just called up there and talked to them; well, it was my brother’s step-son’s birthday this past January, so I called and wished him Happy Birthday. And as far as his other children, I just talked to the children’s mother last week, they’re on Red’s MySpace, there are events going on. I’m supposed to be meeting with the mothers in the next couple of weeks, they want more pictures of Red to put where their children grow up. Yeah, I still have contact with the children.
TODD: Well, what’s the general feeling, you know, between the mothers or the guardians of his children, what kind of comments have they made to you about this? I know you had a conversation with them; you’ve probably had 20 conversations about this.
TONYA: Right. They all said how this is not like Red; that Red would never do this and that they pray for his safe return home. The only one that we don’t get that from is one he just divorced and she’s very wishy-washy. Sometimes she says that whatever happened to him, he got what he deserved, and then the next thing you know, she says that she misses him and her girls don’t need to go through what they’re going through and they need their Daddy back. And then she’ll say, “What do you expect? He got exactly what was coming to him. He can’t go around and act the way he was acting.” When he first went missing, she made a statement that we have on tape because I was recording her phone conversations; she said that there is a life insurance policy out for Robert. When Red went missing, just some more strange facts of the case, these people were questioned in the neighborhood that we used to live in and they said that they had never seen my brother, and then a week later, they took clothes to the County Sheriff’s Department and said, “These are what Robert left here when he stayed at the house.” And they brought them to my Mom to identify them and as soon as my Mom took the shirt out, she said, “These aren’t Red’s” because Red was a huge Georgia Tech fan, and the clothes that they brought over just happened to be Georgia Bulldog stuff, even down to a Georgia Bulldog belt, and Momma said, “Those are not Red’s” because Red was a die-hard Tech fan. But we just thought that it was really odd how one minute they said that they had never seen my brother, and then the very next week they’re bringing clothes over saying, “He was staying at our house and he left these there.” That didn’t make any sense.
TODD: Well, you know what’s coming now? The insurance, you know the insurance plan that you spoke of, there has to be proof of death before this can happen. There’s some type of child support for the children and death benefits for the children, at some point in time, so if he’s alive and well, you know he’s having to pay something.
TODD: He has to be.
TONYA: His child support is going unpaid.
TODD: You’d almost think the system itself would finally resolve their problem if he’s alive and has simply re-located; the system itself should locate him if he is known and the police have found him then, you know, something’s broke here.
TONYA: If he was working somewhere, the wages could be garnered, something, because his children aren’t getting any of the money that they are court-ordered to get, and when he first went missing, probably about 6 months after he first went missing, the second ex-wife, she said, “I’m taking a warrant out for him because I know he’s still out there somewhere and I’m going to take a warrant out for him and wherever he’s at, he’s going to be in jail.” And I said, “Please do that because that way when he gets pulled over or whatever, when he goes to jail, we’ll at least know that he’s safe and he’s not just missing. We’ll know he’s in jail somewhere.” But that has turned up nothing. He has not paid any child support for any of his children, and he’s probably one of the biggest…his daughters were his angels, they were his princesses and they meant the world to him, and he was never without them, never. And now it’s going on 2 years that they have not seen their father. That there says something else, because that’s not Red’s character either.
TODD: Now you’ve said that there are rumors that he might have seen his children…
TONYA: There are rumors going around saying that.
TODD: Well, how did you address those rumors with the guardian of that particular child? Did you just bluntly ask them?
TONYA: No. Actually, the first time I heard the rumor was last week, that he was seeing his children, and I called and I said, “You know there are rumors going around that Robert is seeing the kids,” and the response was, I got back, “Well, you know I don’t care too much for Robert anyway, but I can assure you that Robert is not seeing these kids,” she said, and that if he had seen the kids, it wouldn’t be any secret from me, it wouldn’t be held from me and that I would know about it. Because the last time that Robert and his wife were together, he did go to jail for domestic violence because he slammed her hand in the car door. I can’t paint him out to be this great, perfect person, when he does have things that he has done.
TONYA: He did go to jail because he slammed her hand in the car door, and that’s when she went to Missouri. So, but no, he’s not very liked by the other side of the family, of his wife’s.
TODD: So you are almost in a position where you want to say, “Please do file charges for non-support payment” because you want something to come out of this.
TONYA: Exactly. I mean 2 years is a long time for a family member to be missing, so there are a lot of rumors that have surfaced in 2 years. We’ve heard the rumors that he’s in Florida, you know.
TODD: Uh huh.
TONYA: Well, I’ve pulled up every Robert Lee Ashworth II there is, you know you can do that on 411.com, and they’ve got phone numbers on most of them that you can call, so we have phone bills from where we have called these people. I told my Mom, “I’ll call. I’ve got free long distance and I’ll just listen to the voice. I’ll just call and say I’m looking for my brother, he’s supposedly living in Florida now.” You know everything that we run into, none of it equals up to be Red. The situation that he was in before he left didn’t look good. The girl that I told you that he was dating and that went to jail for the possessions charge, she had a boyfriend before she got with my brother and the boyfriend made threats all the time. Actually he stopped at the house one time, him and some of his buddies, and Red had to go outside and call the police to keep the guys off our property at the time. I felt that this person knows something about where my brother is at but we can’t verify that and the police won’t talk to him, and it gets to be very sticky.
TODD: Well, we have to think of this. What if a legitimate hit has been put on him, and they know that it has been put on him; he knows it’s been put on him? What if he is leaving to try to protect his family? What if he’s actually doing this knowing that he’s endangering his family by being near you while he’s got this hit, and if we actually pin him down and locate him somewhere, we might be endangering him as well as you? Or his children? You know desperation might make you try to distance yourself from your children to protect them. And, right now, we’re putting this information out and I’m trying to look at this as a real missing person’s case rather than something that he has decided to do on his own, so on his case file page, we have details for his tattoos, law enforcement contact, his physical description, but you know, we have to think though, do we want to point him out? Do we want to make him visible to somebody that might bring him harm?
TONYA: Me and my mother have discussed that in great length.
TODD: I’m playing devil’s advocate here. I’m just trying to bring up all the possibilities.
TONYA: We have discussed that and we think that…what we realize is that a hit can be on you for 10 years, we’re stupid to how the world is, but we also know that there are payphones and there’s mail, and we’ve got a family that goes 3 and 4 and 12 cousins back, and our family makes up half of the north part of Georgia, and we have to look at it that Red wouldn’t make Mom worry that way, you know he was a Momma’s boy too, and he wouldn’t make her worry that way. He would want her to know that he’s doing okay, which by the way, she’s not doing the greatest in her health right now, and I want him to know how my Mom is doing, and she wants him to know because she wants him home of course. If he’s out there and if he’s hiding, like I said, the only thing me and my Mom can come up with, there are ways of communications; there are all types of means that you can get your message to someone without divulging where you are.
TODD: Well, how about this? And sometimes, this is the painful part of the show, and other people take it really well. Why don’t you, and he certainly has access to this if he is alive and well, and is out there and can hear and can find his name in a Google search engine, he’s going to find this, in your own voice talk directly to him. Tell him…give him your message. That’s what you’ve been wanting to do for a long time. If he’s alive and well, address him directly and tell him what you feel, and maybe, if he’s able, maybe he’ll respond back. And, you know, if I can bring a message back to you without endangering him, I’ll do my best to do so, if we can get it. So just reach out to Red if you can and tell him what you want.
TONYA: I would tell him, there are too many people in the family for him not to say anything to any of us. We miss him and we just want to know if he’s okay. Somehow, some way, get a message to someone. He’s making us miss a whole lot in his life if he is out there and he’s missing a lot in here. We want him home. We want him home safely. You know if he doesn’t want to be found, that’s great, we completely respect that, but we want some kind of positive identification so there is no way we can go back and question ourselves, “Did they really find him? Was that really him?” We want to know that it’s actually confirmed that it’s you and we’ll respect your wishes with no questions asked. We just want to know that you are okay. And we want you to know that we love you and we miss you. Just call somebody, anybody, from a payphone, a cell phone, something, and let somebody know that you are okay. It’s not hard…pick up the phone.
TODD: Well, I hope it helps. I hope it helps. I hope he is well and he is able to communicate with you and it’s something that can be resolved in time. But whatever happened, it’s a serious situation it seems, no matter what the event. Something’s wrong to be gone that long from family that you’ve been so close to.
TONYA: I want to tell you that I have a 15-year-old son, and from the time my son was born, Red was always, always there for Zachary. He’d come by and say, “I want to pick up Zachary and take him to the store.” Okay, and in 13 years, they got a really super strong bond. Zachary is 15 now so he’s just driving, and he and Red used to sit around and giggle about how he was going to drive, and it’s really hard when Zach comes up and says, “Where’s Red at? I thought he was going to be here with me.” And so that’s something else, he wouldn’t be out there missing on purpose. He knows that he’s got children growing up and his nephews here. I don’t know if I told you, we had 2 psychic investigators involved in this and neither one of them know about each other, until now, and they’ve both told us that Red has met with foul play and they’ve told us that he’s in the woods…he’s buried in the woods. And they’ve never talked to each other, and I’ve got the profile that they gave me in the report and they both said it. They’ve helped with other people’s cases there were missing and they think that Red is not here with us, that Red is gone and both their stories are very, very similar and I find that to be really strange.
TODD: Well I have a feeling that you are somebody that we are going to talk to again in time because this seems like an ongoing situation. Now I see he has a…does he have a case file with the National Center For Missing Adults?
TONYA: He did.
TODD: And that was removed?
TONYA: Yep, when Bartow County closed his case, they took it down.
TODD: So if anybody out there listening has a tip that he has met with some type of foul play, whatever has happened to him, if it’s something of that nature, it’s really important that they contact authorities to let them know. And that’s the Bartow County Sheriff’s Office at 770-382-5050, and you can also email this website or contact us here and we will pass the information along, one way or another, in this case, and it sounds like an unusual case, but we’ll do our best to process the information.
TONYA: We’ve also got an email address set up for Red.
TONYA: It’s Help_find_red@yahoo.com because I know that you can go all day long and set up your own email addresses, so if anybody’s got anything, they can always send it there. I’m constantly checking his email hoping that there’s something there but there’s not. It’s on his MySpace page as well.
TODD: And all that is linked on your space on Missing Pieces so we’ll have all that information there for everybody. We’ve never had one quite like this on Missing Pieces so we always talk to the guests about maybe coming back and giving us an update a little bit later on. If there is anything that breaks in your case or we’re able to help you find anything as a result of this airing, I’d like to get you back soon and maybe help somebody else that is in your same situation that is kind of at loose ends with this.
TODD: It’s been great having you here. It’s been an interesting interview, to say the least.
TONYA: And I appreciate you all taking the time because as a family member, we know that he’s missing and needs to be found and brought back home so we have a place to talk to him, because our gut instinct tells us that he’s not walking back to us. Seriously, that’s what we feel. We feel he’s gone. So, Todd, I appreciate your time and if I find out anything I will let you all know also.
TODD: Well, I have a feeling we’ll be in contact. A lot of people get surprised when with this show, because this show is a public service announcement situation. It’s not that you are interviewed and you’re gone like with the big-time talk shows; we keep contact with you and we’ll hear from you quite often we hope and you’ll hear from us, probably at least weekly, you’ll hear something from us.
TONYA: I believe that because I read about you and how you’ve done the whole Tent Girl case, and that just really stuck with me and that’s why I feel really comfortable and confident with you and I appreciate it.
TODD: Well I’m glad that makes you feel comfortable and it seems like this is the right thing to do because I had these phone calls with people, literally dozens of times a month, and sometimes more, depending on what’s going on, and I always thought, “Wow it would be great to tape record those,” and maybe help process it and I always remembered one thing from another conversation to pass along and I thought, “We need to record these and save them as some type of rough-cut talk show just to get this information out there to people.” Well, we’ll say goodbye to our listening audience, and you and I will talk a little bit longer, Tonya. So we’ll just say goodbye to the audience and talk to those guys next week.
TONYA: All right.
TODD: It’s been great having everybody. Thanks and goodnight.
TONYA: Thank you.
Missing Since: March 09, 2005
Last Known Location: Cartersville, Georgia
Date of Birth: May 21, 1980
Height: 6' 3"
Weight: 180 pounds
Piercings: Left ear.
Tattoos: Sunburst with an eight-ball in the center of his upper left arm, the name "Lynda" on the back of his neck, the name "Cali-Lee" on his right forearm, and the cartoon character Ren on his chest (see photo below).
Distinguishing Characteristics: He has two brown streaks in his left eye and he has scars on his shin and on top of his head
It is believed by the family members of each of these victims,
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