SAMPSON COUNTY — The trail remains cold in the search for 4-year-old Buddy Myers, who disappeared from a Sampson County home more than two weeks ago. Twenty-four years ago, investigators felt the same frustration in the search for another missing boy.
In the winter of 1976, more than two miles from where Myers disappeared, 2-year-old Bruce Shearin vanished from a front porch and was never heard from again.
Mary Peterson, who still lives just down the road from where Shearin was last seen, was saddened when she heard about Myers.
"Well, it brought back a lot of memories because this happened under our noses, and it's a mystery," she says.
In 1976, hundreds of searchers combed the woods and ponds in search of Shearin. Investigators dealt with all kinds of rumors. They also enlisted the help of psychics, but they did not help.
Captains Landis Lee and Gerald Tadlock of the Sampson County Sheriff's Office helped in the failed searches, both then and now.
The 1976 case file was put in storage when the leads dried up long ago. Investigators do not believe the cases are related, except by the apparent hopelessness in finding the boys.
"I think it's very frustrating for law enforcement because they did everything possible back in 1976 just like law enforcement has done in this county in the year 2000," Tadlock says.
While investigators scaled back the search for Myers over a week ago, they are still following leads. So far, nothing has turned up.
Myers' family members have taken lie detector tests, and detectives have followed tips from psychics.