Fate of Tarboro man who vanished in 2006 still unknown

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Staff Writer

Sunday, June 10, 2018

TARBORO — An Army veteran living in a local nursing home took a walk years ago and hasn't been seen since.

Clarence Earl Jenkins, who is now 60 if he's alive, checked himself out of Britthaven Assisted Living Facility on Western Boulevard in Tarboro and left on foot March 12, 2006. It was something he did often, and no one thought anything of it at the time.

Several different people saw Jenkins at several different locations around town that day — then he just vanished.

I've walked his final route more than once over the past few years. Once, last July, I thought I would die under the summer sun. I've checked wooded areas, a pond and a rock quarry. Nothing. And to be sure, the authorities have checked many more places with way more qualified searchers. And nothing.

So I don't understand where Jenkins could be. His family believes he's dead. They just want closure. They just want his body — something, anything — they can bury.

Jenkins disappeared on a Sunday afternoon, a day before his 48th birthday. When he didn’t show up, caretakers became worried. Soon family and law enforcement were scouring the area, but nothing ever turned up.

Three weeks after he disappeared, Jenkins’ dialysis bag and Social Security card were found near a pond on Western Boulevard, seven-tenths of a mile from Britthaven. The area was searched again, but Jenkins or further evidence of him was never found.

Short of foul play, there’s simply no good explanation for what happened to him.

At the time of his disappearance, Jenkins was 5-feet, 2-inches tall and weighed approximately 135 pounds. He had black hair, brown eyes and was missing some teeth. He had tiny scars on his face and surgical scars on his right hip, stomach and chest. He had a kidney dialysis stent inserted into his chest and a metal pin implanted in his right leg. He was wearing a gray T-shirt, a blue hooded sweater and blue jeans.

Nicknamed Shorty, Jenkins had friends in Fayetteville and Virginia Beach, Va. Police investigations turned up no indication he had been to either location after his disappearance.

Jenkins' DNA profile has been submitted to the FBI's Combined DNA Index System. His information also is on file with the President’s DNA Initiative, the National Crime Information Center, the National Center for Missing Adults and National Missing and Unidentified Persons System.

Anyone with any information concerning Jenkins’ whereabouts or fate is asked to call the Tarboro Police Department at 252-641-4247. A financial reward is possible.