Missing Fayetteville Man Found Dead; Family Says Police Should Have Done More
Posted February 20, 2001 6:00 a.m. EST
CUMBERLAND COUNTY — Whenever a child is reported missing, police are out in force looking for them, but it is a different story for missing adults. One local family believes if officers had searched for their loved one, they would not be planning his funeral.
Danny Bufano, 48, was popular among family and friends. Diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia at age 29, he lived with his parents so they could keep a close eye on him. However, that was not enough to keep him out of harm's way.
"My grandfather was at the door and it was 8:30, 9 o'clock, and I asked them, 'Did you see Danny?'" says Angela Hawkins, Danny's niece.
Bufano had been missing since Friday, Feb. 9. Last Sunday, his younger brother, Tony, found him lying dead in the woods.
"If somebody started searching right there, he'd be alive right now," he says.
"We had gotten no response whatsoever from the police. No investigators came to the home," says Gina Bufano, Danny's sister.
Fayetteville police say they followed the correct procedure for a missing adult. They determined Danny was not in a life-threatening situation, and the Bufanos say that decision cost Danny his life.
"Even at 48 years old, he had the mind of a child, and that's why I feel they should have come immediately," says Vince Bufano, Danny's father.
Fayetteville police say when a person is reported missing, they consider several factors: age, the person's health and the temperature outside.
The Bufanos say Danny appeared to die of natural causes. A official report will come from the medical examiner which could take up to 90 days.