ROWAN COUNTY, N.C. — Law enforcement officers are playing a larger role in the search for a missing runner who disappeared without a trace more than a week ago.
Channel 9 spoke with the wife of missing 66-year-old Spencer man Richard Travis, who told us she needs to know what happened to her husband.
At one point Travis was reported to be seen running on Interstate 85 against traffic.
Officers said K-9s even picked up his scent on Interstate 85.
Travis’ wife Jean McCoy said she is hoping people who saw him will call police and help her get some answers.
"It's really rather shocking when someone in your family disappears and there's no answer," said McCoy.
She said she hasn't seen Travis since he left home for a neighborhood run that should have taken no longer than 30 minutes.
"At 4 p.m. I said he should have been back and that's when I started looking and I knew something was wrong because he was a creature of habit,” said McCoy.
McCoy said running was a big part of Travis’ routine and even though he’d been recently diagnosed with dementia, he kept it up.
"The doctor told him running might help his brain more than the medicine so he would try to run,” said McCoy.
For six days police said they have used drones, ATV’s and police dogs to search for Travis.
Some people have reported seeing him zig-zag across the road, even running on Interstate 85, things McCoy said Travis would never do.
"It is my feeling that something was happening to his brain. I don't know what it would have been but something was going wrong at that point with him,” said McCoy.
Now Spencer police said they are investigating if foul play was involved.
"I can tell you that it is a possibility and we do recognize that,” said the Spencer police chief.
“Rick had an incredible sense of humor. He really did!” said McCoy. “I need him to be found. I can accept bad news, I can accept it, but no news is worse than bad news.”
McCoy said she is also working to make a change in the state's Silver Alert policy.
She said information about her husband’s case should have been put on one of the billboards on Interstate 85, since he was spotted in the area.
The state told law enforcement that in order to do that, a car had to be involved with the case.
Police said they are offering a reward of up to $1,000 for any information that leads to an arrest.
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