Monday marks one year since Berkeley County man's disappearance - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Monday marks one year since Berkeley County man's disappearance

Willie Toomer (Source: Berkeley County Sherif's Office) Willie Toomer (Source: Berkeley County Sherif's Office)
A fellow church member dropped Toomer off at his home at approximately 12:30 p.m. on May 14, 2017. (Source: Live 5) A fellow church member dropped Toomer off at his home at approximately 12:30 p.m. on May 14, 2017. (Source: Live 5)
A year after the disappearance of Willie Toomer, his church still holds out hope. (Source: Live 5) A year after the disappearance of Willie Toomer, his church still holds out hope. (Source: Live 5)
BERKELEY COUNTY, SC (WCSC) -

Mother's Day fell on May 14 in 2017. That was also the day a 78-year-old man vanished without a trace.

Willie Toomer has been called a fixture in the Cainhoy community.

Toomer attended his church that Sunday morning and took a ride home with a fellow church member who dropped him off at 12:30 p.m.

That's the last time anyone saw him, as far as investigators can tell.

The Berkeley County Sheriff's Office is offering a $5,000 reward for information on this case.

When Toomer missed his daily meetings with family and friends that evening and the following Monday morning, they became concerned and checked his home, which they found unlocked, deputies say.

Family members said Toomer is a creature of habit and would not have disappeared on his own.

Toomer's niece, Darlene Taylor-William's, says she believes someone knows about what happened to her uncle.

"He's a man of habit, that's why it was so quick that people knew he was missing because if he wasn't at church, if he wasn't with me, he was under the tree at...store or home," Taylor-Williams said.

Taylor-Williams is Toomer’s caretaker, often driving him to his doctor’s appointments and making sure his bills were paid on time. She, along with Toomer’s sister-in-law, Dot Scott, said this is "absolutely out of the norm for him."

Taylor-Williams says Toomer was a good man that didn't bother anyone and was quiet. She also says when she would drive him around he liked to talk to her and talked about how much he loved his Huger family.

Toomer is known to have difficulty walking and "shuffles" his feet as he walks.

"I believe there's more than one person who knows something, I actually believe there's probably someone afraid to come forward with information," Taylor-Williams said. "I'm just hoping that in their heart they can after seeing this and after being so long that somebody would come out and say something."

After multiple searches on foot, by horseback and on all-terrain vehicles, investigators found no sign of him. A Crime Stoppers reward for information leading to his return jumped from $1,000 to $3,000. Last July, donations raised the reward to $4,500, spokesman Ofc. Harry Sosa said. 

That incentive hasn't produced any leads, either.

In the months after his disappearance, Berkeley County Chief Deputy Mike Cochran reported receiving multiple leads. One of them came from Atlanta where an unidentified man was believed to resemble Toomer; Cochran said investigators determined the unidentified man was 40 years old and not Toomer.

On Sunday afternoon, the Berkeley County Sheriff's Office posted a video hoping it would remind people of Toomer's disappearance and bring in more clues.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Berkeley County Sheriff's Office at 843-719-4412 or Crime Stoppers at 843-554-1111.

"We just want to find him, find out some information that we can to bring closure to the situation, he deserves it," Taylor-Williams said.

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