Local News

Second Silver Alert for man concerns Wilson police

Posted February 26, 2009 4:20 p.m. EST
Updated March 9, 2009 5:13 p.m. EDT

— Wilson police say they are worried the public could stop paying attention to Silver Alerts.

The North Carolina Center for Missing Persons issued one Wednesday for Vadieyer Graham, a 32-year-old patient in a Greene County group home who walked away from a counseling session in Wilson.

It is the second alert issued for Graham. On Dec. 22, he walked away from a Wal-Mart store while on a group-home trip. Police found him in Fayetteville with family.

Police said earlier Thursday they thought he might be with family in the Whiteville area and that law enforcement officers were still looking for him. Silver Alerts remain in place until authorities can establish contact with the subject.

Graham's second was canceled late Thursday evening.

Wilson police say they are worried a case like Graham's could hurt the credibility of the program, developed in 2007 to quickly notify the public about missing endangered adults who suffer from cognitive impairments.

State law, however, does not specify what a cognitive impairment means, and state authorities do not identify the cognitive impairment when they issue alerts.

"We're really afraid that it's crying wolf enough times that the citizens may quit paying attention to it," Wilson police Sgt. Steven Stroud said.

The North Carolina Center for Missing Persons says it follows strict criteria for issuing Silver Alerts. There were 128 alerts issued last year in North Carolina, including the first one for Graham.

"It is frustrating. We pretty much drop everything that we do to put as much attention as we can onto it," Stroud said.