Local News

Fayetteville Police Search For Missing School Counselor

Posted March 16, 2004 5:42 a.m. EST

— The search is on for a missing school counselor.

It came as a surprise when Parkton Elementary School counselor Detrace Mercer did not show up for work Monday.

"I've noticed these past few days that I haven't seen him over this way anywhere," Joyce Miller, parent of a Parkton student, said Tuesday.

According to investigators, Mercer was last seen leaving his Fayetteville neighborhood about 2:30 p.m. Sunday. He waved at a neighbor as he drove off by himself in his white Chevrolet S-10 pickup truck.

Less than an hour later Sunday, officers arrested a man driving a truck like Mercer's on numerous traffic violations. The man, who had blood on him, was identified as 20-year-old Melvin Shrieves Jr., an acquaintance of Mercer's.

The truck was identified as belonging to Mercer.

Officers said that, when they tried to pull Shrieves over for a traffic violation, he sped off. That began a pursuit that ended on or near Gillespie Street after Shrieves jumped and ran from the vehicle.

The arresting officers said Shrieves had blood on his clothing that could not be associated with the vehicle pursuit and foot chase. The officers also found a bloody knife that they linked to Shrieves.

It was during the arrest that officers discovered the truck belonged to Mercer, of Park Avenue in Fayetteville.

Additional officers went to Mercer's address in an attempt to make contact with anyone at the residence. Their efforts to locate Mercer were unsuccessful.

People who know Mercer said he is a private person.

"He was a real quiet man," Miller said, "very respectful and very likable."

Tuesday, Shrieves only faced charges stemming from the high-speed chase. Police said they are waiting on lab results to see if he is connected to Mercer's disappearance.