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Police, friends are baffled by man's disappearance

October 01, 2003|by RICHARD F. BELISLE

waynesboro@herald-mail.com

HARRISONVILLE, Pa. - Revell Reuben Jeeter still is missing after more than two months and police, friends, neighbors and relatives say they are baffled about the disappearance of the 60-year-old Buck Road man.

The person believed to have seen Jeeter last was Wayne Strait, owner of the Lincoln Way Market in downtown McConnellsburg, Pa.

"I knew him real well," Strait said. "He used to come in here about three times a week. He was always joking around. The last time I saw him was July 14. He came in to buy two steaks, one for himself and one for his dog. He always had the dog with him."

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The dog, a Jack Russell terrier named Bubba, was Jeeter's constant companion, said people who knew him.

Jeeter is 5 feet 8 inches tall, weighs about 230 pounds, has a beard, gray hair and blue eyes. His birthday is Aug. 22.

He was reported missing July 21 by Gary Stoltz, his friend in Littlestown, Pa., Pennsylvania State Police said. Stoltz told police that the fact that Jeeter didn't show up for a party at Stoltz's house July 19 was "very unusual."

Stoltz called Jeeter's home and got no answer, police said. He drove to Jeeter's place, a well-cared-for yellow mobile home on Buck Road, a dirt road that runs west off Pa. 655 North with a mix of mobile homes and single-family houses. The front door was ajar and everything appeared to be in place, police said. Bubba, who appeared uncared for, was running around outside, they said.

Stoltz could not be reached Tuesday.

Jeeter's four vehicles were there, including a 2002 Chrysler PT Cruiser, a jeep Wrangler, a Toyota pickup truck and a rollback truck that he used in his part-time wrecker service, according to his sister, Jeanette Endley of Pasadena, Md.

The dog is being cared for by Jeeter's nephew, Endley said. "He has a good home," she said.

Investigators have not ruled out foul play.

State police said they have conducted several searches of the area around Jeeter's home. Firefighters, volunteers on all-terrain vehicles, a helicopter and dogs trained to locate cadavers were used in the searches.

"The last time I saw him was at the end of June," Endley said. "He came to our house to eat crabs. He was in his usual great mood. I didn't see any changes in him. He was his old relaxed self."

Endley said her brother called her every weekend on his cell phone.

"One week he didn't call. I called him and left two or three messages," she said. "My heart fell at my feet. I knew something was wrong."

She said she was "on the fence" concerning theories about why her brother disappeared. "When it first happened, I suspected foul play," she said. Now, she's not so sure.

"The police are out of ideas," she said.

Jeeter was not known to have serious health or financial problems and did not seem to be depressed, people who knew him said.

He has two children by a previous marriage that ended more than 30 years ago, his sister said. His mother still is alive and he has an older brother living in South Carolina, she said.

Jeeter worked as a dump truck driver for the Carroll County, Md., roads department from 1985 until he retired on disability due to a shoulder injury in 1998. He moved to Harrisonville that year.

"He liked living alone," his sister said.

Benton Watson, the roads department's bureau chief, said Jeeter was a good worker.

"He came to work every day and did his job. He did all right," he said. "It's strange, bewildering, that anyone could disappear like that."

"It has us all stumped," said Gloria Fetterhoff, who runs the tiny Harrisonville Post Office and general store where U.S. 30 crosses Pa. 655. She said Jeeter came in occasionally to share a cup of coffee.

"There's been a lot of talk about it amongst us. It's hard to say what happened to him. Nothing like this has ever happened around here before," she said.

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