Missing man’s case remains a mystery

Published 4:25 pm Tuesday, June 18, 2024

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JACKSON – June 16, 2011 is a date forever etched in the memory of Sheila Moses.

Daniel McCoy Moses

“I was sitting at my desk in my Atlanta office when my phone rang,” said Moses, a Northampton County native who went on to become a renowned author nationally. “It was my brother, Leon, on the line. Usually calm, he was frantic that day as he informed me that our brother’s house was on fire.”

And so began what is now a 13-year mystery into the disappearance of Daniel McCoy Moses. The 61-year-old man vanished that day and despite numerous searches since that time no one has heard from him.”

Shelia Moses said Leon had attempted to contact Daniel that fateful day, but there was no answer on his cell phone.

“I cried as I dialed Daniel’s number myself because I knew our lives had changed forever,” Shelia Moses said last week. “My heart sank when I glanced that day at a Father’s Day card for Daniel that I had yet to mail, a card I still have 13 years later. That is how long Daniel has been missing. Thirteen Father’s Days, birthdays, Christmases, and countless other significant days have passed without him.”

Daniel Moses was last seen the morning of June 16, 2011. Ironically the home in which he lived at 1903 W.J. Duke Service Road, located off NC 305 between Rich Square and Jackson – one purchased in the 1950’s by his now late grandfather – burned the same day. However, a State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) arson specialist summoned to scene came to the conclusion that faulty wiring in an air conditioning unit was the cause of the blaze.

According to Sheriff’s investigators, Daniel Moses was not found inside of the home or on the property, yet all of his vehicles, to include his motorcycles, were still parked in the driveway.

Sheila Moses said that prior to the fire, an acquaintance of her brother said Daniel was going on vacation.

“I didn’t believe that then, nor do I now,” she stressed. “Our mother raised 10 children and none of us, even as adults, ever left home without first telling her.”

Since 2011 there have been four organized searches for Daniel Moses.

A five-person team representing North Carolina CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) and an equal number of highly trained cadaver dogs joined Northampton County Sheriff’s officers for a March 2014 search in a small wooded area located near his former home along W.J. Duke Service Road.

In July of 2020, personnel with the SBI, Northampton County Sheriff’s Office, and Gaston Fire & Rescue used new equipment to search old wells located near where Daniel Moses’ house used to stand. Gaston Fire & Rescue Department volunteers brought their underwater cameras to drop down into the wells to search for human remains that cadaver dogs may have potentially missed.

In August of 2021, numerous search teams volunteered their time to join with local, regional and state law enforcement officials to seek evidence related his disappearance. The search area was confined to Cumbo Road, near where Moses lived.

In April of last year, 60-to-70 volunteers from a number of local and state agencies gathered on the grounds of the former Odom Correctional Facility to kick off another search. The search parties covered roughly 140 acres throughout the day, utilizing cadaver dogs and drones.

“Last year, after 12 years of pleading, I finally met with an FBI agent,” said Sheila Moses. “His involvement has done little to bring justice for Daniel and other missing Black people in Northampton County. The most significant issue is that the missing individuals are Black, and their lives are undervalued, even with a Black sheriff in office.”

She cited statistics of missing people in North Carolina. Of the 500,000 missing people in the United States as of April 2024, there are 1,132 cases in North Carolina, according to the North Carolina Center for Missing Persons. Their records show that only 62 are active, meaning the others have either been found or, like Daniel’s, have become cold cases. Of these 62 cases, seven are from Northampton County, all of which are Black.

“Seven Black people that, with the exception of their families, are rarely mentioned. I just refuse to give up,” she stressed.

Ms. Moses said her heart still aches after 13 years. A giant void remains, as does a cloud of mystery.

”When people die, you know where they are and hopefully how they died,” she said. “I don’t know what happened to my big brother, but many people do. This is what I do know….Daniel did not disappear into thin air. He had a black belt in karate, and his hands were lethal. No one person took Daniel. There was more than one person involved, and all the people who contacted me, dropping hints, did so for the reward money, hoping [SBI Agent] Walter Brown would solve the case. He has not, and like myself, he is getting older. Daniel’s case is aging. Eventually, Brown will retire, and a new sheriff will take over. The one constant is my love for Daniel. I will continue searching for my big brother until my dying day.

“I believe that somewhere in the lies told by those calling me is the truth. I believe that justice is slow, but it will come. My hope is to find Daniel’s remains one day and take him to Chapel Hill Baptist Church and bury him beside my mother. Until then, I remain my brother’s keeper,” she concluded.

The Moses family and the State of North Carolina are jointly offering a $15,000 reward for information that will lead to Daniel’s whereabouts. Anyone with information can call the Northampton County Sheriff’s Office at 252-534-2611 or the NC State Bureau of Investigation at 800-334-3000.

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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