Columbus police asking for public's help to find man who has been missing for two years
It’s been two years since Joel Akridge went missing from his 5827 Valleybrook Road home but his family is still looking for answers.
Akridge was 53 when he went disappeared on March 28, 2015, in Columbus. He was last seen walking to the Family Dollar on Amber Drive.
Despite a $5,000 reward, police have received few leads in the case. Police Lt. Joyce Dent-Fitzpatrick, head of the Special Victims Unit which investigates missing persons, said the detectives had a meeting about the case last month, and she called on the public Friday for help.
“If there is anything they have seen or heard on March 28, 2015, or the day surrounding the event of him going missing to please contact the Special Victims Unit with any information, no matter how small or how insignificant it may be.”
Police are looking for new leads at a time when the assigned detective has left the Columbus Police Department and a new investigator is assigned the case.
“I guess we’re doing a cohesive investigation with people putting ideas and things that maybe we should try next,” Dent-Fitzpatrick said. “Some things, we may have missed when it first came out. We want the public to give us some assistance on Joel Akridge. We will be doing stuff until we find some answers.”
Although Akridge was mentally impaired with a third-grade reading level and used prescription heart medication, Akridge usually walked to the nearby store from his home but would make it back by the end of day, a family member said.
“Given his status, he had some challenges,” Dent-Fitzpatrick said. “We feel that may have kind of made us a little stagnant but, overall, we feel that somebody may have seen something. Somebody saw something. Overall, we feel like somebody may be a little too reluctant to come to us.”
Police will look at any new information in the case. “You can give us a call with any information that may help us. It doesn’t hurt to look at it if you feel that you have something that could assist us in this investigation. He has been missing for two years, and that has got to be a daunting task on his family.”
At the time he disappeared, Akridge was wearing blue jeans, a T-shirt, blue shoes and a straw hat. He is about 5-foot-11 and weighs about 210 pounds.
Anyone with information should call the Columbus Police Department’s Special Victims Unit at 706-653-3449, 706-653-3400 or call 911.