RALEIGH – Missing children often dominate headlines. But across North Carolina, there are hundreds of adults who disappear, leaving family members distraught and with many questions.
Advocates for the missing and their families say too often, missing adults are forgotten. That fact is magnified even more when it's an adult male.
"These people have loved ones, they have jobs, connections," Monica Caison, with the CUE Center for Missing Persons, said. "Most people don't just walk out of life."
In July 2004, Delwin Lockler disappeared from Maxton, N.C., a small Robeson County town in the Sandhills.
"It's always been a question of, 'What did happen to Delwin?'" Caison said.
Investigators searched, but no evidence of his whereabouts ever surfaced.
"We've conducted searches from Maxton to Raeford and Fayetteville a lot of rural different areas, but have found nothing," Caison said.
In the foothills of Mount Airy in Surry County, the case of Joseph Pike remains unsolved. Pike was last seen in June of last year, when neighbors saw him walking down Linwood Drive with another man carrying fishing rods.
Days later, a burnt camping tent was found in the same area. Investigators believe the tent belonged to Pike's acquaintance.
"The family's belief is that something went awry at that waterway that day and something happened and he could be in the state of North Carolina or many miles away," Caison said.
Police were unable to ever make contact with that person.
In Catawba County, Robert Connor vanished in July of 2003. He was last seen at the Boxcar Grille in Claremont. Family members say they knew something was wrong when Connor's home was found in disarray.
"The family went by his dog was left in the home and not cared for," Caison said. "His family knew he loved that dog more than life itself."
Foul play has not been ruled out in the case.
"There's no indication that any of these cases were suicidal, no indication that there were family problems," Caison said. "Again, there's just no reason to take off and leave your life and let everyone worry about where you're at."