Family speaks out after missing person found dead month later

by: Greg Suskin Updated:

Loading
LANCASTER, S.C. —

Rayshawn James said his brother, who he called Rick, was his whole life.

"My brother was always at my side. He was my main man. Now he's gone forever," James said.

On Monday, Lancaster County sheriff's deputies identified the man who was found dead on a secluded trail near Mullis Circle on Saturday.

Rickey James, 33, had been there for weeks before some teenagers discovered his body.

Rayshawn and Antwan James went to the Lancaster Police Department on Oct. 19, two days after Rick disappeared, and filled out a missing person's report. However, a search was not started for their brother.

Lancaster police took the report, but told Channel 9 it did not appear Rickey James' life was in danger.

"He had left home before and not told his family," said police Capt. Scott Grant. "Due to his history, and the fact that he was an adult, we didn't see evidence that he was in any danger."

On Saturday, some teenagers walking in the woods came across the remains of Rickey James on the grass shoulder of a dirt path. The remains were clothed, but had been there for so long that officials couldn't tell the sex or race of the victim at first. There was no clear evidence of how Rickey James died.

The discovery was made right behind the trailer park where Antwan James lives, and where his brother had often stayed.

"It saddens me that it took so long to find my brother when he was right there, and he could have been found two or three days afterwards," Rayshawn James said.

Antwan James had last seen his older brother on the night of Oct. 17.

"We were just talking, having a conversation, that's all," he said. "Nothing unusual."

He remembers that weeks later he smelled a foul odor behind his home in the woods, but never thought much of it.

"I always thought it was an animal out there or something, but now that I think about it in retrospect, it could have been my brother," he said.

The brothers made about 400 fliers with Rickey's picture. They placed them in stores and handed them out in parking lots around Lancaster.

Rayshawn James believes someone robbed his brother, because his wedding band and wallet were missing.

"My brother had nothing, not even a dollar on him," he said. "I hope whoever did this is punished to the max."

Both brothers are now mourning a man they describe as charismatic and genuine, and a man who leaves behind a 14-year-old daughter in Fayetteville.

The family is originally from Brooklyn, N.Y., but moved south several years ago.

"My brother was my man. I don't know what to do next," Rayshawn James said.

James' body was sent to Charleston for autopsy Sunday. As of late Monday, the results were not back yet.

The Lancaster County Sheriff's Office is asking anyone with information about those responsible for this or any crimes in the Lancaster area to call the Lancaster County Sheriff's Office at 283-4136 or contact Crimestoppers at 1-888-Crime SC (1-888-274-6372) or you can e-mail or text your anonymous tip to: www.midlandscrimestoppers.com.