(Introduction to show begins)
TODD MATTHEWS (Missing Pieces Host): I’m Todd Matthews. This is Missing Pieces and tonight we have Beverly Hayes. Welcome Beverly.
BEVERLY HAYES (Guest): Hi. How are you doing?
TODD: I’m doing great. You’re in Florida, right?
TODD: Okay, and you have a missing brother?
BEVERLY: Yes, I do.
TODD: I got some emails from several people in your area about Ryan Surrency.
TODD: Okay, what can you tell me about him? I’m seeing an article that says, ‘Family pleads for help to find missing son.’ So your mother and father are still alive and well, but working.
BEVERLY: Yes. Yes. Ryan was an adopted brother; he was adopted several years ago. He picked up his income tax return and left for work and we’ve never seen him since. He left for work from the Wal-Mart in Plant City, Florida, on the 29th of February (2008), and he’s not been seen or heard from since.
TODD: Now, you have another sister, Melissa, is that her name?
TODD: Okay, that’s…
BEVERLY: Altogether, my parents adopted five kids, so there are nine of us altogether…
BEVERLY: …and it’s just been kind of devastating. We don’t have any leads. We don’t have anything to go on.
TODD: And I’ll read a little bit of what your sister emailed to me. ‘Reported to the Plant City, Florida, Police Department – Ryan Paul Surrency – Born: 11/30/1980 – Missing since: 2/29/2008. Last seen at the Plant City Wal-Mart. Brown hair, blue eyes; 5’2”, 150-180 pounds. Tattoos on both upper arms and burn scars on legs. No activity at the bank account or bills or with family or friends.’ You’ve made flyers and put out numerous emails to TV and newspapers, and no one has responded yet, and you’re desperate for help. And I think a lot of people have been in this place that you guys are in right now.
BEVERLY: And it’s scary to think that we have to face the possibility that we may never know, and that would just be…that would be horrible.
TODD: Now, how far have you gotten with what you’re doing? Now, you’ve got a legitimate police report filed, I’m sure of that.
BEVERLY: Yes, and we finally got a media release, but in the beginning, my parents were met by, like a traffic cop, on their way in to report him, and they were told by him to wait a couple of weeks; that he was a 27-year-old male and he was probably…he had probably found some woman, and sent them packing. So, not knowing any better, they waited. They thought, “Well, you know he had a lot of money and we have to face that possibility,” but with no activity…he bought a cell phone that same day, and it’s never been used. He never made a single call from it.
TODD: And didn’t he have several…and I’m sure if it’s already been published in the newspaper, but he had several thousand dollars in cash on him at the time.
BEVERLY: Yes, he did. He had picked up his income tax refund from an Amscot here in Lakeland, Florida, and we don’t know whether he got cash or got a cheque and cashed it, but long story short, he left there with all that cash, and it was late in the afternoon and he had to be at work by 10 o’clock, so we assumed he didn’t stop by the bank because he planned on stopping to get a cell phone too.
TODD: Well, you can see where law enforcement are coming from with this; it’s a 27-year-old guy, bought a cell phone and has several thousand dollars, and he takes off.
BEVERLY: Exactly. We…you know, we didn’t know what to think. My parents didn’t know what to think, and when they told her that, you know when they told them that, it made sense, you know.
BEVERLY: So we didn’t get real desperate right away, and I think sometimes, time is of the essence, but it’s still…a lot of people, that’s the first thing they think, “Well he had a bunch of money and he could live for a while on that money.” But, his car was almost paid for, but now he hasn’t made a payment. There have been no insurance payments. He has two beautiful kids that he adores, and he had a lawyer and he was fighting for visitation rights with his children. As a matter of fact, his court date is tomorrow.
TODD: Does that make you wonder if possibly he’ll be there tomorrow?
BEVERLY: I pray…I pray he will be there tomorrow. I would love to know that he made it there tomorrow and I know that he was probably upset because he lost his job, and I think that maybe started the whole thing, whatever the end result was. He didn’t come straight home because he lost his job and he was either off blowing off steam or, you know, we thought a million different things that could have happened, but then with no activity on anything, then we got desperate and we know, we still don’t know, but we’re pretty sure he didn’t take off, with the situation the way it was and getting so close to getting some visitation rights with his kids. And, his older child, which is a little boy, R.J., he’s almost 2 years old, was born without his esophagus attached to his stomach, so he’s especially close to that child because they had to nurture him and nurture him, and I just don’t believe he would leave his children.
TODD: And even if he did, obviously there’s something not okay.
BEVERLY: Exactly. It’s been too long to believe, even with the amount of money that he had on hand, it’s been too long to believe that he would have just…even if he wanted to take off and blow off steam, he would have made a car payment, he would have paid his insurance and stuff like that, he wouldn’t let all of that fall apart.
TODD: I mean, if you’re going to pout about something, you don’t go for this length of time.
BEVERLY: You don’t go for…yeah, it’s a month and a half now.
TODD: Too long for blowing off or if he’s pouting or brooding, it’s just been too long for that.
TODD: So, you’ve hung the flyers; you’ve handed out the flyers. Were you surprised that media was a little resistant?
BEVERLY: No, actually we were warned by the detective, that we would have to hound the media to get them to run the story, and then when he finally made the media release, which was almost two weeks and coming after we requested it and all, we got a call, my parents got a call to hurry up and go to the police station in Plant City, that Channel 10 News was there and wanted to do an interview. And then we petitioned a few other places to do interviews, and most of them we didn’t get called back. I haven’t checked every single paper or, you know, we couldn’t check all those TV channels, but I know that more than one channel ran it, but not for very long. You know you get a day or so of that…
BEVERLY: …and it seems like, and I know it’s because of the whole situation, a 27-year-old male, it just seems like it’s not really serious to a lot of people, and maybe because of the money and all.
TODD: Yeah, it is. I can kind of see where they’re coming from, because I hear from a lot of people I don’t even…how did you, you know we got this email from you guys, I really don’t know how you got to us?
BEVERLY: Actually, one of my sisters, Melissa, and I believe it was her sister-in-law, somehow or another…he told her, and she told him, and they told us, and you know, we were sending emails to practically everybody that we could think of to try to get his name out there and get the description out there as much as we possibly can.
TODD: Now, I’m seeing a lot of different things that I like to see on this particular page, you know, because we’ll have you an archive page for this particular interview. It’ll be transcribed and I’d like to see more photographs and very detailed descriptions of the tattoos because we keep adding to this and try put it in a really good package so that media can pick it up and move easily along, because sometimes it’s really difficult for them to get their hands on the story that they can use. I know it’s sad, but true.
BEVERLY: I can tell you, I know, I know it doesn’t sell.
BEVERLY: A missing 27-year-old male doesn’t sell newspapers. And we understand that, and we’re pretty much prepared for whatever we find out, but we just want to find out one way or another. Either he’s all right, or he’s not. But I can tell you that one of the tattoos on him was a bucking bull with a rider on, and one of them was a real angry looking bull with the clouds coming out of its nose, you know.
TODD: How hard would it be…do you have any photographs of these tattoos?
BEVERLY: No, we don’t, but I was just thinking, my sister is a pretty good artist, she might be able to recreate it on paper, just out of memory.
TODD: And, possibly, if we had some idea of where he got the tattoos, we could possibly go back, because they probably have something like that on file. That’s something that you can work on now, I mean, you can really go back now and that’s something that somebody is not going to do for you; that’s something you can do.
TODD: Instead of having to wait…
TODD: …you can be doing that. You’re in the Tampa area, correct?
TODD: Well, I’ll be there in June.
BEVERLY: I’m closer to Lakeland.
TODD: Okay. Well, I’ll be there in June. I’m coming for…in the Clearwater area, there’s a conference, Clearwater/Largo, I’ve got a conference I’ve got to go to at that time, so maybe if this is still an ongoing situation, hopefully we can maybe run into each other, and there are probably a couple of people down there that I’m planning on meeting while I’m there, that will hopefully put you into the right circle of people…good people that you can trust.
BEVERLY: That would be great.
TODD: And that’s what you need right now, you need a lot of people that know where you’re coming from and know where you’re going, and can tell you what to expect and maybe help give you some information along the way. Eventually you’ve got to ask for it to be put into the NCIC, the National Crime Information Center.
TODD: That’ll probably be something that you might have a little resistance, but you can get that information in there, and that’s when the information on those tattoos is going to be very critical. You’re really going to have to know some really good statistics on him at that point in time.
TODD: And then there’s the DNA Database. If this goes on long-term, you know, where a sample of DNA, and you know he’s got two children, biological children, so you definitely have that.
BEVERLY: Yeah, and we submitted a sample of his hair to the Police Department in Plant City, for DNA, in case they needed it.
TODD: So you got that going, that’s handy. And you have them submit it to the National DNA Database at the proper time, and there’s information I can give you on that as time goes forward. I think we can help you with that and get you in the right position. And what about your parents? How are they taking this? I mean, I’m seeing the sister, you know it seems to be you guys are taking over on the Internet.
BEVERLY: Pretty much. We’re trying to deal with as much of it as we can because it seems like the more my parents answer questions and talk about Ryan and it just gets harder, and we try to run interference for them as much as we can. They elected me sort of spokesperson for the family, and I’ve tried to do most of the interviews with whatever press has called. They have them call me just so she doesn’t have to keep answering the same questions over and over.
TODD: It does get rhetorical. You know you’re going through the same steps but none of them are for nothing. Why do you think they picked you to be the spokesperson?
TODD: Why do you think they selected you to be the spokesperson?
BEVERLY: I think because I’m pretty much the closest family member that can and will take up the time to do it all. I have the computer with good Internet access and all, and I was there at the time that they did the interview with the Detective Best, when he told us about the media and told us what to expect, and he recommended that they pick a spokesperson so that the media is not getting their answers from several different people and getting things crossed up, which they sometimes do.
TODD: That happens a lot, unfortunately, it does. And a lot of it, they’re so rushed to try to get to so many different things. I can understand law enforcement’s point of view, and I can understand media’s point of view, but you really have to consider a family’s point of view too. There is a lot going on, you know, in your family right now. So have you…his children, how old did you say they were?
BEVERLY: The older one is almost 2 years old, and the younger one is almost 1 year old. I believe the older one will be 2 years old in July, and the other one will be 1 year old at the end of June.
TODD: So are you getting to stay connected with those children?
BEVERLY: I have not been staying connected with the children. Ryan had just moved back down here with my parents, recently, a couple of months ago; well, actually that he had been there a couple of months before he disappeared. Him and the girl that is the mother of the children, had split up, and he’d gone back to live with them until he could get back on his feet again, and make a place and get some visitation with his children and all. So, I had not been around him for a while. He was living in the northern part of Lakeland, and with nine brothers and sisters, it’s hard to stay really in touch with all of them; we’re kind of scattered out. I believe that the girlfriend is still letting my parents spend time with the kids, so when things are a little bit calmer, I’ll be seeing more of them myself. She is being cooperative and she is still letting them see the children.
TODD: Do they have any tips or leads, anything, that they’re going on?
BEVERLY: Nothing. The only thing that we had was there were three other guys that were fired at the same time Ryan was, and we had been told by management that this was a ‘bad bunch’ and that they’d been trying to get rid of these three guys. Now, by ‘bad bunch,’ I don’t have a clue what he meant, other than, he said that Ryan seemed like he was kind of becoming friends with this group, and they’d been trying to get rid of them, so whenever they left during their break-time, they weren’t punched out; they left the premises and came back, and that gave them a good reason to fire them, so they got rid of all of them. And we’re sure that that has something to do with whatever frame of mind he was in when he left work that night.
TODD: So, if I had a tip in this case, who would I call?
BEVERLY: You would call Detective Jay Best at the Plant City Police Department…I have that number…
TODD: I have the number; it’s 813-757-9200.
BEVERLY: Yes, extension 2228.
TODD: So, what do you really expect in this case? I mean, I know you have had to think of everything; the good, the bad…do you think there’s a possibility that maybe something’s a little wrong, but he’s still okay? You know I’m hoping that he’s going to show up in court tomorrow.
TODD: That would be ideal, if he just showed up in court.
BEVERLY: Right. If he would just say, “Well, you know, I just went off on a binge for a while, I just had to get away,” or whatever. Even if, you know, we’ve talked about with the drugs being so prevalent and all these days, you never know, but if he did fall into a drug scene of some kind, and that’s what’s keeping him from coming home, we can help him with that, but we can’t help him if he’s been murdered for his money, which we have to realize is a very major possibility, that someone saw how much money he had…
TODD: Uh huh.
BEVERLY: …and people will kill for a lot less money.
TODD: Oh, for dollars…mere dollars, they’ll kill for.
BEVERLY: That’s it. Greed is one of the major factors in a lot of murders.
TODD: So, if he’s out there and he can hear you, and he can read this or Google his name and find himself, you’re telling him that if he has a problem, he has help.
TODD: You want him back.
TODD: And you can work through anything, any problems, any trouble that he’s caused you, and work and worry, it can all be forgiven in time.
BEVERLY: Absolutely. To see his face again and know he’s okay, yeah, we’d do anything to help him.
TODD: You know, I think, maybe sometimes people are afraid, if they go away and then they see this.
BEVERLY: Yeah, I know.
TODD: Because you know, you worry about the media, and I think that’s one of the reasons that you don’t rush to media. If you embarrass or scare that person, when they’ve really just taken a day or two off, you know, who knows? You know it might push them away. You know I always worry about that when we do these shows. We don’t want to push anybody away, so I always try to work something in where telling them, for the most part, everybody is very forgiving with their families.
BEVERLY: Yes. And we realize that a decision made at a moment’s notice, like say to take off for a week or so to just blow off steam and kind of regroup and then maybe he was scared to come home, and maybe then he talked himself into believing that he wouldn’t be accepted and that we’d just be angry at him and, yeah, we might be a little angry, but it’s not…to see his face again now, I just don’t think that it would matter anymore.
TODD: Love will override that, that’s obvious.
BEVERLY: That’s it, absolutely. He’s a good guy. He’s a good parent. He’s been a good brother and we just want him back. Whatever, whatever the situation he’s in, we want him back.
TODD: So, we’re going to go to court tomorrow and, hopefully, who’s going to stand in his place tomorrow at court if he doesn’t show up? Is there going to be another charge against him?
BEVERLY: There is no one. There won’t be a charge against him because it’s a petition that he started for set visitation with his children. In the beginning, his girlfriend was not being cooperative with him seeing the kids; she was giving him a hard time so he started the process of getting court-ordered visitations, so that he would have set times and he’d get to see them, and it will just go in her favor, they’ll just rule in her favor, whatever that might be. I believe she is willing to work to set up some visitation for my parents.
TODD: Are you going to be there tomorrow?
BEVERLY: No, I’m not going to be there tomorrow; I’m going to be at work. I don’t know if my parents have plans to go. I don’t think that anybody but him can represent him. I’m really not sure about that. I’m not sure if any of the family has thought about showing up at the court in his place.
TODD: Or even the possibility that maybe he’ll show up.
BEVERLY: He might show up, yes. I’m sure my step-dad is going to go over and just see if he shows up, but I don’t know about actually going to his court-appointed time, I don’t know about that.
TODD: Now, what about if he…if in the chance that you go, I mean, court happens tomorrow and he’s not there; what’s your next step? Have you got a plan in mind, or…?
BEVERLY: To just keep on doing what we’re doing, to just keep getting the information out there to as many people as we can, as many flyers as we can. When we put out our first flyers, it wasn’t a really good picture of him, and then we found a better picture of him, so we’re in the process now of making new flyers with an updated picture, and just keep pounding the pavement. We’ve had family members that have 4-wheelers and stuff that have gone out in different areas where we had permission to search small bodies of water and wooded areas that just on the off-chance that we might find something. And we’re going to keep in touch with the Plant City Police Department; they’re supposed to continue to investigate. They have, how did they put it…they switched up their search and they let us know frankly, that at this point, there’s no activity on any of his ‘life-sustaining’ things, is what they called it, but they switched up the search, and they are pretty much searching for a body.
TODD: Uh huh.
BEVERLY: So, we’re doing everything we can to keep trying both avenues. We’ve not given up. We haven’t convinced ourselves that he’s dead, but we still have to search every possibility.
TODD: Hmm. Well, hopefully, everything will go well before then, before I meet with you, possibly, in June, there are definitely a lot of people out there that can give you a lot of help and a lot of supporting moving forward with this. I know people that have been at this for two or three decades, still going through it, and I know that’s hard to imagine being at this current level for decades, but it happens.
BEVERLY: And, actually that’s what…that’s one of my fears is never knowing one way or the other. I used to think it would be worse to know for sure that they were deceased, but I don’t know, when it happens to you, it’s so different. It’s just scary.
TODD: Because you just don’t know and I think not knowing, the unknown is the scariest thing that can possibly haunt somebody is, just not knowing, not knowing for sure.
BEVERLY: If we knew he was dead, we could grieve and go on, but we can’t go on as long, I mean, we have to go on but I can’t go through a single day without wondering where he is and what we can do to find him.
TODD: I think that you’re taking all the right steps, though. I can tell you that; you’re off on the right beginning. A lot of people take a long time to get to the point where you guys are, so you’re moving in a really good direction, and I think we can introduce you to people that will help keep you going in that direction; that’s the hope. That’s the hope.
BEVERLY: But we have to keep finding new avenues, and new things to do, and new people to talk to.
TODD: You’ve just got to be relentless and not let it get you down when you run into a wall, because you will.
TODD: You will. I’ve seen people that stopped when they hit those walls, they just stopped and then kind of hung around for a few years and then tried again. You’ve got to keep picking yourself up and keep moving on it, that’s really all you can do, and I don’t even know if I could. You know, I can give you this advice, but if it had been my son or my brother, even knowing the things that I know, you know, physically, mentally, am I able to do it, if it occurred to me, I don’t know. I don’t know.
BEVERLY: And you almost feel like sometimes you reach a saturation point where you just don’t know what else to do. You know you can do so much, you can pass out so many flyers and talk to people but wherever I go, whatever I do, I look for his car, I look for any face that looks remotely like his. I don’t think that will ever stop until I either see him again or we find out for sure that something bad did happen.
TODD: Well, you don’t have to say on the recording, but do you have an idea of his biological parents? Did he ever seek out his biological parents?
BEVERLY: Once, in a great while. They have been notified. They’re actually helping look. They’ve contacted family members in other states and different places that they thought Ryan might have gone if he felt like he needed to get away. I don’t know when is the last time he’s contacted them. I know when the kids were smaller, there were set visitation times that my parents, they would go basically to a park or something so the children could interact with both sets of parents.
TODD: Well, that’s an interesting concept, you know, biological and adoptive parents getting to work together, hopefully.
BEVERLY: Yeah. Yeah. It is much better, for the kids especially, if you can be on good terms.
TODD: Well, I just know that you’ve got a good start going. We need to check back with you and maybe work on the tattoos and see what we can come up with that and add it to your page. But in the meantime though, I know that you’re in a very hard spot right now, but if he’s out there, is there anything that you want to personally say directly to him?
BEVERLY: That I love him and no matter what the reason is that he hasn’t come home, he can come home right now. He can come home any moment from now, and he will be accepted, and we will work out whatever the problem is, whatever the reason that he hasn’t been in contact with us, it doesn’t matter. We just want him to come home.
TODD: And I pray that’ll happen soon. I pray that will happen soon for you.
BEVERLY: Yeah, thank you.
TODD: But we’ll try. We’ll try. We’ll see what we can do and I know a lot of people in this world, and a lot of people will be seeing these pages and there are just so many resources. Unfortunately some resources kick in later rather than sooner…
TODD: …for many reasons, but there are a lot of things out there. You’ve got hope in the future for further assistance, that’s for sure.
BEVERLY: Great. Well, we will take all the help we can get from anybody, anywhere. We’ve even given flyers to truckers that say they’re going to drop them off in Michigan or somewhere up north. It seems like a stretch but at this point I don’t think that anything is too far of a stretch.
TODD: No, you have to take the opportunities that you can get, you know.
BEVERLY: That’s it.
TODD: You’ve got to take them.
BEVERLY: It’s only going to take one person to see that flyer and say, “I know that guy. I remember seeing him that night,” you know, it’s only going to take one person. Just that one call and we’re waiting for that one call or a call from Ryan saying, “I’m okay.”
TODD: Well, we’re going to get all your information online. The tattoos, you’re going to work on that. We’ll be in touch with you by email and/or phone. We’ll definitely be in touch with you. The lady that helps me produce this show, that puts the website together, she’s actually in Tampa…
BEVERLY: Oh, yeah?
TODD: …and she said it’s not very far from where she’s at, so hopefully, maybe you can get some really good technical support when you’re trying to create a flyer and that type of thing. I know she’s really good and she’s particularly interested in this case because of its location, so hopefully we’ll have somebody nearby. So we can try, we can try. I can’t promise we can fix it, but I can promise we’ll try, and I can promise you’ll be better off than you were, tomorrow.
BEVERLY: Well, thank you.
TODD: That’s teamwork. You’ve got to work together.
BEVERLY: That’s it; more and more people.
TODD: Well, it’s great to have you here tonight, and hopefully, everybody hears this message, that needs to hear it, and we’ll definitely be back in touch with you and we’ll keep building this website, and hopefully I won’t need to do another show with you. I’m hoping I won’t have to ask you back. I’m hoping I won’t have to ask you back, so…
BEVERLY: Well, maybe you can ask us back to have me back to tell you how we found him and how you guys helped us find him.
TODD: I’d love that more than anything. That would be ideal.
BEVERLY: It would be great, and you don’t know how much myself and the rest of my family appreciate what you’re doing, and the work that you guys do towards helping people like us.
TODD: It’s just small things, but it does add up. It does add up, but I definitely think that we can widen your search out quite a bit.
BEVERLY: That’ll be great.
TODD: Well, we’ll say goodnight to our audience and you and I will talk a few more minutes. So, goodnight everybody; we’ll be back next week.
Ryan Surrency's Vitals:
Date of Birth: November 30, 1980
Date Missing: February 29, 2008
Age at Time of Disappearance: 27 years old
Missing From: Plant City, Florida
Height: 5'2" to 5'4"
Weight: 150 to 180 lbs.
Hair Color: Brown
Eye Color: Blue
Tattoos: Cowboy riding a bucking bull on one arm and an angry bull with steam shooting from the nostrils on the other arm.
Other Distinguishing Features/Marks: Burns on both legs.
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