Sampson County Scam Exploits Sympathy, Sheriff Says
Posted October 12, 2000
ROSEBORO — Tons of people have volunteered to help a Sampson County family find their missing 4-year-old boy. But some are trying to make a tough situation even worse.
Buddy Myers and his two dogs disappeared more than a week ago. One of the dogs returned, but Buddy and the other dog are still missing.
While the community of Roseboro comes together to search for Buddy, it appears that someone is trying to capitalize on sympathy to make quick money.
Sheriff Buck McCullen says that dozens of people around the county, including the sheriff himself, have taken calls from people soliciting money to help search for missing children. The caller even affiliated herself with the Sampson County Sheriff's Office.
"I said, 'I don't believe in this. It sounds like a bunch of garbage. I'm the sheriff of the county,' and they hung up," McCullen says.
The sheriff deplores the exploitation of the residents' grief. He wants everyone to know that it is a scam.
"I think they're just playing on people's sympathy to try and make money," he says. "It's awful."
Town resident Larry Sessoms agrees, saying, "I think they're sick to use a situation like this for their personal gain."
As they tied yellow ribbons around town to keep Buddy fresh on neighbors' minds, Buddy's family expressed their outrage.
"I can't believe people are using something like this, just to get money out of other people," says Buddy's uncle Johnny Myers.
McCullen got the telephone number of the caller. As his office investigates, he encourages anyone else who receives the calls to write down the number if they have caller ID. Then, they should call the sheriff's office at910-592-4141.
Detectives are following up on leads and rumors, but so far, there is no sign of Buddy.