Local News

Search for Cabbie Becomes Homicide Investigation

Posted March 24, 2008 1:09 p.m. EDT
Updated March 24, 2008 10:46 p.m. EDT

— Cumberland County authorities on Monday classified the search for a cab driver missing since last week as a homicide investigation.

William James Simon, 61, of 1598 Gillespie St. in Fayetteville, was reported missing Thursday by his roommate, but Simon's boss at L&M Taxi Service said he was working late that night.

Simon picked up a fare in Fayetteville around midnight and was headed to Raleigh, his boss said.

A passerby on Friday found his taxi abandoned near a radio tower off Rosser Street in Spring Lake. Simon's Bible was on the front seat.

Acquaintances called Simon very reliable, honest and good-natured. He started driving a cab a couple of months ago after getting laid off from a longtime job.

"Willie is a good, kind-hearted person. If he can do anything to help you, he will," said his estranged wife, Elizabeth Simon.

The Simons have been married for 24 years, and Elizabeth Simon said they remain friends despite their separation. William Simon stopped by the diner where she works last Thursday afternoon, she said.

Cumberland County authorities said people with William Simon's character usually don't run off on their own without telling someone, which leads investigators to suspect foul play.

Elizabeth Simon said she's trying to remain hopeful.

"It's hard. I am trying to hold myself together for the children and the grandchildren," she said. "I just want to know he is alright. That's all I can say."

William Simon was described as a black man, 6 feet, 2 inches tall and about 200 pounds. He has gray hair, is going bald and always wears glasses. He has scars on the right side of his stomach.

Anyone with information about Simon is urged to call the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office at 910-323-1500.