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Upstate deputies want you to check your property, video cameras as they continue search for missing man with dementia



The search for an 80-year-old Pickens County man with dementia has entered a new phase. Francis Alward was last seen Wednesday in the Pumpkintown Highway area wearing khaki pants, a blue shirt and black shoes. The Pickens County Sheriff’s Office has been working with the Pumpkintown Fire Department and other agencies as well as members of the community. The search has focused heavily on six miles of property around where he was last seen. Chuck James, Chief Deputy of the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office, said Monday that the search has shifted to a more targeted approach coordinating with volunteer groups that are also searching the area as well as family members and local churches. “We’re kind of at a point where this whole area’s been saturated and we’re going begin to look at other options,” he said. Part of what makes the search difficult is the terrain. “We’ve had helicopters out here essentially every day, drones and fixed-wing aircraft but one of the other obstacles has been the thick ground vegetation,” James said Kellie Wilson, a family spokesperson and Reverend at Christ Church Episcopal in Greenville, said Alward’s family remains hopeful. “Their prayer at this point, really, is that he is at peace. He is a faithful man. If he is not alive at this point, he is in heaven and they are thankful for that knowledge and they are still holding out for hope. And more than anything, the family wants and needs closure at this point. So they really are asking the community to help them so that they can receive that closure,” Wilson said.The Pickens County Sheriff’s Office is asking people nearby to check their video cameras. “I would say anything is plausible,” James said. “I would continue to encourage the people of this area, particularly on Pumpkintown Highway, Highway 135, even Highway 11 area and even going down towards the city of Pickens to take proactive searches of their own property.” James said while the office appreciates the community helping to search, he wants people to be careful. Alward’s daughter, Holly Melton, shared an update Monday morning. “We would like to encourage everyone in Pickens County to search their own property, game cameras, and outbuildings. If everyone could do that, maybe we can find Francis. We are in awe of the outpouring of support from the public. We wish we could personally thank everyone who is searching and praying for Francis. Our family has been supported every step of the way by sheriff Rick Clark and the entire Pickens County Sheriff’s Office. That agency has rallied around our family, and we appreciate them immensely.”

The search for an 80-year-old Pickens County man with dementia has entered a new phase.

Francis Alward was last seen Wednesday in the Pumpkintown Highway area wearing khaki pants, a blue shirt and black shoes.

The Pickens County Sheriff’s Office has been working with the Pumpkintown Fire Department and other agencies as well as members of the community. The search has focused heavily on six miles of property around where he was last seen.

Chuck James, Chief Deputy of the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office, said Monday that the search has shifted to a more targeted approach coordinating with volunteer groups that are also searching the area as well as family members and local churches.

“We’re kind of at a point where this whole area’s been saturated and we’re going begin to look at other options,” he said.

Part of what makes the search difficult is the terrain.

“We’ve had helicopters out here essentially every day, drones and fixed-wing aircraft but one of the other obstacles has been the thick ground vegetation,” James said

Kellie Wilson, a family spokesperson and Reverend at Christ Church Episcopal in Greenville, said Alward’s family remains hopeful.

“Their prayer at this point, really, is that he is at peace. He is a faithful man. If he is not alive at this point, he is in heaven and they are thankful for that knowledge and they are still holding out for hope. And more than anything, the family wants and needs closure at this point. So they really are asking the community to help them so that they can receive that closure,” Wilson said.

The Pickens County Sheriff’s Office is asking people nearby to check their video cameras.

“I would say anything is plausible,” James said. “I would continue to encourage the people of this area, particularly on Pumpkintown Highway, Highway 135, even Highway 11 area and even going down towards the city of Pickens to take proactive searches of their own property.”

James said while the office appreciates the community helping to search, he wants people to be careful.

Alward’s daughter, Holly Melton, shared an update Monday morning.

“We would like to encourage everyone in Pickens County to search their own property, game cameras, and outbuildings. If everyone could do that, maybe we can find Francis. We are in awe of the outpouring of support from the public. We wish we could personally thank everyone who is searching and praying for Francis. Our family has been supported every step of the way by sheriff Rick Clark and the entire Pickens County Sheriff’s Office. That agency has rallied around our family, and we appreciate them immensely.”



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