Rayfield Crume was 80 years old when he went missing from his home in Orlando, Florida, and his whereabouts are still unknown more than 15 years later.
On the night of June 2, 2004, Crume and his wife decided to pick up a freezer from the Home Depot store at Hiawassee and Colonial Drive, which was a five-minute drive from their home, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
Crume was apparently in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease when he planned to drive his newly purchased truck, a white Ford F-150, to the Home Depot while his wife drove ahead of him.
He told her he would meet her there in five minutes and said he was “right behind you,” but he never arrived at the store, and he hasn’t been seen since.
Two days later, on the morning of June 4, 2004, Crume’s truck was found in Fort Myers, Florida, burning at the end of Palomino Lane off Daniels Parkway, which is near Interstate 75.
The vehicle was stuck in the mud, and some of the watermelons in the back of the truck had been thrown out, the News-Press reported.
Local authorities said there was no sign of foul play.
There were also efforts to find Crume. Deputies used ATVs and choppers to search the surrounding areas, but there was no sign of him.
When his wife first learned that his car had been found in Lee County, she told authorities that he only knew one person in the area, a “gospel-singer friend” who had “been dead for 10 years,” and her “husband was at his funeral.”
She also mentioned that her husband had once gone “to Georgia to visit his brothers without telling her.” However, she stated that “she doesn’t believe that he had any thought of going anyplace but the Home Depot.”
At the time of his disappearance, Crume did not have his medication with him.
The vice president of the Alzheimer’s Association of Central and North Florida said this case is “not typical of an Alzheimer’s sufferer wandering away from home.”
“This is rare in the fact that he had traveled so far from home, and that his car was found burned-out. Sometimes there’s a deviation in the road, and then they’re lost.”
“Usually, they will go in a straight line until someone impedes them. They get pulled over for a traffic violation or they run out of gas.”
“Nearly half of Alzheimer’s sufferers who wander would not survive if they weren’t found within 48 hours,” he added. “In most cases, the victim would be found dead from exposure.”
Crume was a gospel singer who formerly worked as an announcer for a radio station in Orlando, hence why he was purportedly known in the area.
However, before he went missing, it was reported that he was selling “fruits and vegetables from the back of his truck.”
He is described as a 6-foot-1 black male with brown eyes and gray hair.
Anyone with information regarding the disappearance of Rayfield Crume is encouraged to contact CrimeLine at (800) 423-TIPS.
Tipsters may receive a reward.