Probe widens into Peel’s disappearance

Published 7:02 pm Tuesday, February 18, 2020

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COMO – While the search remains active for a missing Como man, the facility from where he walked away from on Feb. 8 has temporarily lost its license to operate.

Late last week, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) closed Twin Oaks Adult Home, located on US 258 near Como.

Hertford County Sheriff Dexter Hayes said DHHS is performing its own investigation into the operations of the facility after one its residents, 86-year-old Joseph Peel, wandered off the property and hasn’t been see since.

“The state suspended the license of Twin Oaks while they investigate,” Hayes said. “They (the state) worked with our local DSS office to move the remaining eight residents at Twin Oaks. From what I understand, seven were taken to a local assisted living facility while the other resident was placed in the care of a family member.”

Joseph Peel has been missing since Feb. 8.

Meanwhile, Hayes and his staff are still digging for clues on Peel’s disappearance.

“We’re working to gain access to a video on the premises of a car lot adjacent to Twin Oaks,” Hayes said. “From other information we’ve been able to gather, we strongly believe that Mr. Peel walked away from the adult home prior to the 7 a.m. call we received from there on Feb. 8. We believe the video will show us exactly what time Mr. Peel walked away.”

The ground search for Peel entered its 10th day on Tuesday of this week.

“We’re still not giving up hope; this remains as a missing person case,” Hayes stressed.

The Sheriff confirmed that some of the dogs currently being used in the search specialize in locating deceased individuals.

“Yes, we have cadaver dogs on the scene, but that shouldn’t be interpreted as us giving up,” Hayes noted. “We’re doing everything humanly possible to find Mr. Peel. We’re printing posters today with his photo that will be widely distributed. The statewide Silver Alert we put out on Feb. 8 remains active. If you see Mr. Peel or have knowledge of his location, please call us.”

The original report indicated that Peel was last seen wearing a Washington Redskins cap, a blue pull over sweater, blue jeans, and black lace-up shoes. He is approximately 5’-6” tall and weighs 160 pounds.

A later report revealed that Peel may have been wearing or was carrying a set of bedroom slippers. They were located adjacent to the road near the rest home.

Last week, over 200 individuals from multiple agencies descended on the Como area to join the search. That effort included a helicopter from the North Carolina SBI and planes from the Civil Air Patrol. There were SAR (Search and Rescue) teams from as far away as Wilmington and Rowan County as well as the Department of Corrections PERT squad, and bloodhounds.


About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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