VANISHED WITHOUT A TRACE: Missing Columbia man’s family asks for answers on 7-year anniversary of his disappearance
COLUMBIA, SC (WOLO) — For more than seven years, the family of Montey Thomas, better known as Duke, have been searching for answers.
The man who was 45 at the time of disappearance has not been heard from or seen since 2014, or at least that investigators know of.
“This is something that we weren’t expecting to happen in our family. We watch it on TV all the time. For it to happen in your family is hard, especially when you don’t know,” said Duke’s sister Dana Thomas.
Thomas remembers the last time she spoke to her brother Duke on the phone.
That night, he did not go to his house that he lived at with his girlfriend at the time.
“He went missing on Thursday night. After he didn’t come home that Friday night, she contacted my mom Saturday morning,” Thomas remembers.
But they still had hope that he was out there.
“They had a USC game that Saturday night. We knew that if he wasn’t there at that game, something was wrong,” Thomas said. “That Sunday was when she called and got a missing person’s report.”
Duke was last seen on camera footage outside Rick’s Party Shop on Bluff Road.
“We initiated searches in that area and have done so over the years,” said Dottie Cronise, senior investigator at the Richland County Sheriff’s Office. “We go back anytime we get a lead and search and look.”
Now, Dana says she believes her brother is no longer alive. She says he would have reached out to his family and added that disappearing would be out of character.
“Wrong place wrong time and I think someone had it out for him,” Thomas said. “We were talking to people. People were talking in the streets but of course no one wants to talk to the sheriff’s department.”
While it’s been 7 years since Duke was last seen here on Bluff Road, family members and investigators alike believe answers are still out there in the community.”
“If you don’t want to call law enforcement directly and talk to us directly, please call Crimestoppers,” Cronise said. “You can give a report anonymously and give us all the information you have.”
“We need to find out what happened to him. We want to find his remains,” Thomas said. “I need to do it for him because that’s my brother.”
She says this time of year is especially hard for her and her family.
“Every holiday or birthday, I’m looking at the phone for a call that I’m never going to get,” Duke’s sister said.