Tristen Alan “Buddy” Myers
September 1995: I had recently moved to Bella Vista, California, where I lived in a small house on two-and-a-half acre lot; it was not a cozy neighborhood — it was one where a close neighbor was at least an eighth of a mile away, and the lot backed up to 103 undeveloped acres of brush.
Adding to the sense of isolation was the fact that the road we lived on had a nominal speed limit of 45 mph. The only drivers who observed that limit were me and the school bus driver, but the cars whizzing past added to the sense of being cut off from the rest of the world and somehow being unable to catch up.
I did not know many of our neighbors, and those I knew lived several city blocks from me, so I was startled late one afternoon to hear a knock at my door.
I had been making dinner when there was a sharp rap at the front door. For the most part, my family and I went in and out the back door, so I ignored it, expecting whomever was there to come around to the back. But when the rapping continued, I set aside my work.
When I opened the door. I had expected to see one of my sons, but to my surprise, I was greeted by an elderly woman I had never seen before.
“Do you have a child?” she asked me.
“Yes,” I answered, uncertain of where she had come from or why she was asking me if I had children.
“We found your child in the road” she said with authority and relief.
I, however, was in a panic. At that time I had two children, one was 11 and the other 13. If one of them had been found in the road, the outlook could not be good.
But before I could get to the phone to call an ambulance, an equally elderly man made his way to the front door with a toddler in tow. The child wore nothing but a diaper.
The couple looked at me expectantly as they presented the child.
“This isn’t my child.” I told them.
By now, traffic on the road in the eastbound had slowed from the usual 60 mph whirl to a dead standstill as the elderly couple had left their car where it was when they had stopped to assist the child. Soon there was another adult at my door who had seen the whole thing. I managed to get names and phone numbers; I also noted the time; then I finally made it to the phone so I could call the local Sheriff’s office.
Local means different things in different places. Shasta County, California, where I lived at the time, covers more square miles than the states of Rhode Island and Delaware combined. When I placed the call and explained my predicament, they were hard pressed to understand my story.
No children had been reported missing, so what was an emergency for me, was not an emergency for them, and it took more than an hour for a deputy to get to my house. When he did arrive, I was treated with suspicion. Who was I? Did I have some ID? How did I get this child? Did I know who the parents were?
I felt that no one had been listening. I had told them how I got the child, and I thought it obvious that if I knew who the parents were, I would take the child home. I was glad I had at least thought to get the names and address of the people who had witnessed the child walking in the road.
Still somewhat suspicious of how I ended up with the toddler (but not suspicious enough to take either me or the child into custody) the deputy left my house and went door-to-door in his car. About 20 minutes after leaving he returned with one of the grandparents who had been babysitting the toddler in question. It turned out the diaper clad adventurer had been taking a nap, but awoke and left the house on his own.
They hadn’t even known he was missing.
This relatively brief moment of my life is one that has stuck with me for almost a quarter of a century now, and it always serves as a reminder to me of the unpredictability of life, and just how easily a person’s world can be upended in the blink of an eye.
Roseboro, North Carolina
Located in North Carolina’s coastal plain, Roseboro lies along NC 24 — the longest primary state highway in North Carolina, and it owes its existence to the Cape Fear and Yadkin Valley Railroad. The Roseboro City website proudly proclaims its many firsts; my personal favorite was the appointment of Sue Truelove as Roseboro’s first postmistress on May 6, 1890:
But despite the charming history of the town where Tristen Alan “Buddy Myers is last known to have lived, everything did not come up roses for the little boy.
A child goes missing
When I came across the story of Buddy Myer’s, I was reminded of that long ago, late summer afternoon. Like Buddy, the baby on my doorstep was an adventurer who had managed to get far out of his depth.
Unlike the baby on my doorstep, Buddy Myers has not yet found his way home.
Last seen on October 5, 2000, Buddy Myers was an adventurous little boy, who, despite suffering from behavioral issues and developmental delays, had an independent spirit and was not afraid to venture out of the house for a walk with two dogs while his great-aunt, Donna Myers, took a nap.
In fact, a few days earlier a neighbor had found Buddy a half mile from the house with dogs in tow and brought him back to the Myers’ home. It seems that Buddy’s thirst for adventure had not been slaked, and when an opportunity presented itself, he took it.
Where it all began
Born on July 17, 1996, in Ocean Springs, Mississippi, Buddy’s mother, Raven, was fifteen years-old, and the challenges of teen motherhood proved to be more than she could manage. Her family stepped up to help, but it didn't work out as one would hope.
He was first placed in the care of his maternal grandparents, and in late 1999 his grandfather accidentally ran over his grandson when he was moving a car he was working on. Then after recovering from those injuries, Buddy’s grandmother became so ill her husband couldn’t care for both his wife and a busy child.
So in August of 2000, Buddy left Louisiana and was brought to to live with his great aunt and uncle; that is how Buddy Myers came to live in Roseboro, North Carolina.
A new start
The home where John and Donna Myers lived seemed idyllic for a child like Buddy. With his outsized sense of adventure, there was plenty of outdoor space to keep the inquisitive little boy busy.
But Buddy, who had already faced a lot of challenges in his short life, still had a lot of challenges to meet. He has not adapted well to losing the only family he had ever known, and the transition from one household to the other was not easy on him or his aunt and uncle.
In the short time he had been with them, he was hospitalized so he could undergo a psychiatric evaluation, which, because of his limited vocabulary, had been inconclusive. But his aunt and uncle were determined to make a home for him and were doing all that they could to make a their home “Buddy” proof, going so far as to install a buzzer on the back door so they would hear him when he slipped out.
But the afternoon Buddy went missing, he didn’t go out the back door; he went out the front.
Looking for Buddy
The search for Buddy began almost immediately. The Sampson County Sheriff was called in. The Sheriff’s department pulled out all the stops using dogs and state-of-the-art tracking equipment. They searched by land and air. Law enforcement, military and civilian volunteers participated in the search going into deep underbrush, and ponds.
But there was no sign of Buddy.
Five days after his disappearance, Buck, the three-legged Chihuahua that Buddy had slept with every night, returned home. Ten days later, the family’s Doberman did the same. Neither dog showed signs of having been in the woods. — Fayetteville Observer
As of this writing, Buddy has not been found, but tragedy seemed to follow those left behind. His maternal grandmother died of liver disease, his mother was killed in a car accident, and his great uncle died at the age of 67, but there are still a few people left to wait and wonder whatever became of Buddy Myers, and hopefully, one day that will get an answer.
NCSBI - Divisions
Victim or Case Name and Number: Tristan Alan Buddy Myers Crime Committed or Inflicted: Missing Person Crime Date…
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