Peele search enters 3rd week

Published 5:15 pm Tuesday, February 25, 2020

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COMO – Twin Oaks Adult Home here remains closed and under investigation by state officials in the aftermath of one of its elderly residents walking away unnoticed.

Meanwhile, the search continues for 83-year-old Joseph Peele. He wandered off the property on Feb. 8, sparking a massive search by ground and air over the course of four days. While that search has been scaled back, it still remains active.

“We’re not giving up,” Hertford County Sheriff Dexter Hayes said yesterday (Tuesday).

“We’re spreading around posters containing information and photos of Mr. Peel,” Sheriff Hayes added. “Even with all the publicity this situation has generated over the past few weeks, there are still some individuals we’ve approached about putting up a poster that didn’t know anything about this; they didn’t know this man was missing.”

Hayes also mentioned another measure his investigators are taking to broaden the search area.

“We’re thinking what if Mr. Peele was picked up by a passing motorist and asked to be driven to Greenville, Elizabeth City or even up in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia,” Hayes pondered. “We’re now in the process of checking all homeless shelters in those areas. Mr. Peele, because of his memory issues, may be confused over where he is or even where he is from. We’re not leaving any stone unturned.”

Back closer to home, Hayes said an effort remains active to gain access to a video on the premises of a car lot adjacent to Twin Oaks.

“From other information we’ve been able to gather, we strongly believe that Mr. Peele 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. Peele walked away,” Hayes stated in an earlier interview.

He added on Tuesday of this week that Twin Oaks Adult Home remains closed under orders from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. That agency has launched its own investigation into Peele’s disappearance and also ordered that the other eight residents there be moved to other facilities or placed in the care of family members.

The original report indicated that Peele 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 Peele may have been wearing or was carrying a set of bedroom slippers. They were located adjacent to the road near the rest home.

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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