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Residents Relieved, Upset Over Cary Store Clerk's Return

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CARY — The Larry Jones mystery is over. After two years, the missing convenience store clerk from Cary is back.

Jim Kilpatrick knows Jones from the Parkway Convenience Store on Kildaire Farm Road where he worked.

Jones disappeared with $9,000 and the store's surveillance tape in March 1998. Like many of Jones' regular customers, Kilpatrick was afraid that he had been kidnapped.

"Everybody was concerned about it," Kilpatrick says. "There were yellow ribbons all over the station, and everybody was very concerned because he was such a personable person."

"To find out that he had pulled this on his own, and all that effort was wasted, makes me pretty upset," Kilpatrick says.

Jones' mother removed a yellow ribbon from an oak tree when he came home a few days ago. His family says they are relieved that he is back. They had not heard from him in two years.

Jones' truck was found in Kentucky and a Cary woman saw him in Mississippi. Police had suspected that Jones, an avid fisherman, had just taken off, but now a lot of people want to know where he has been.

"I'm surprised that he left in the first place and left his family," says store customer Wilson Huntley. "I'm real surprised that he came back. He has a lot to face up to."

Police say Jones told them he left his wife and children behind because life got too tough. Jones faces an embezzlement charge. A close friend says Jones is willing to turn himself in to police.

Some store customers are glad that Jones decided to return home.

"Well, it's bad that he did what he did, but at least, he is facing up to what he did and being honest in a way," says store customer David Parker. "I hope he enjoyed his vacation."

Jones' family says he is very remorseful over the incident and wants to tell his story. The family says he has been talking on the phone with several friends, apologizing for what he has done.