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Skeletal Remains Provide Closure To Raeford Family

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RAEFORD — Skeletal remains are the final clue for a Raeford family that they have been waiting for more than a year.

Pictures, medals and memories are all the Butler family have left of 52-year-old Johnny Butler. In July 1999, Butler wandered away from his mother's home and was never seen again.

"When that first night came and he wasn't found, we cried and we cried. It was the most miserable day of my life," says Linda Rose, Butler's sister. "We'll never know the degree of how my brother suffered."

Butler had a long list of physical and mental disabilities and needed constant care. When days, weeks and months went by without any sign of Butler, the family's hopes of finding him quickly faded.

Around Thanksgiving, a deer hunter found the remains of Butler in the woods less than two miles away from his home.

The family believes the Hoke County Sheriff's Office would have found Johnny if given the chance. They say Sheriff Jim Davis called off the search for him just two hours before it began.

"I feel that his inactions have caused my brother his life, and for that, I can't forgive him," she says.

Sheriff Davis says he did everything he could to help find Butler, considering the fact Johnny is an adult.