Elrey “Bud” Runion and his wife June were headed to McRae GA on Thursday to meet someone who responded to an ad Bud Runion placed on Craigslist seeking a 1966 Mustang.
Relatives became concerned when the couple did not return for a family function and did not answer their cell phone.
Cobb County detectives believe the couple was riding in a pewter- or champagne colored 2003 GMC Envoy with Georgia tag BWU 7349.
They say Bud Runion is white, 5 feet, 7 inches tall and weighs 165 pounds. He is balding with gray hair and blue eyes. June Runion is white, 5 feet, 5 inches tall and weighs 135 pounds, with brown hair and green eyes. Police say the phone number the Runions called traces back to a disposable cell phone.
Telfair County Sheriff Chris Steverson identified a wanted suspect in the investigation into the disappearance of June and Bud Runion.
Steverson says arrest warrants were issued for Ronnie Adrian “Jay” Towns, age 28. The warrants allege Towns made false statements to investigators and attempted to commit theft by deception.
Multiple agencies spanning several counties continued their search for the Runions. Volunteers also joined the search.
Craig Bishop, a son-in-law of the Runions, watched investigators coordinate the search from a campsite off Highway 117 near Jacksonville, Ga.
“There is nothing more valuable than life, no money, no nothing,” Bishop said. “We just want them back safe.”
Towns was described as 6 feet 4 inches tall, weighing 210 pounds, with blue eyes.
“We were interested in who last had phone contact with the Runions, and this individual did,” says Steverson. “We interviewed Mr. Towns early on in the investigation and the info he provided did not corroborate with our investigation.”
One of the couple’s daughters, Brittany Peterson, said her parents have always been cautious and would have called by now if they were OK.
“They’ve always taught us things to be wary of in certain situations, safety. My dad, you know, he told me if I was to go do something, to go in numbers, to meet people in well-lit places. He would have called, and he hasn’t,” says Peterson.
Searchers set up a staging area in a hunting camp on Highway 117 near Jacksonville. The Telfair sheriff asked anyone with information to call his office at 229-868-6621. A Facebook page has been set up “Find Bud & June Runion.”
Update 01/26/15: Suspect arrested in Georgia Craigslist Missing Persons Case.
Update 02/06/2015. The Runions were recently laid to rest. Their funeral service video is here on Vimeo. The number of ordinary citizens that attended their service was a great show of support by ordinary people that came together via Facebook and other sources.
The Remember Bud & June Runions Facebook Page is currently showing 175,215 likes as of this post update. Facebook is a website that is living proof what “communities” can do. And is a testament toward the tremendous outpouring of support the Runion family received.
Friends, please trade safely and always meet in a public place to conduct a transaction. A busy mall parking lot. Many police departments are creating “Safe Trade Zones” to meet and conduct internet transactions.