By Patrick Yost
A man reported missing from Henry County since Sept. 15 was found last Thursday, Oct. 1 walking westbound on Dixie Highway.
According to Rutledge resident Jo Ellen Artz, she found the man walking round noon. Artz said she noticed a “scruffy guy” walking westbound and called 911 and advised them to send deputies to “check this guy out, he meets the description.”
Artz said a few minutes later while she parked near the entrance of Gralan Farms and observed the man deputies arrived. “An officer looked at me and gave me the thumbs up,” she said. “I said, ‘Is that him?’ and the officer said, ‘Yes!’”
James Roland ‘Skeet’ Walker, 69, had been the subject of an intense man-hunt by Morgan County authorities and volunteers on Monday, Sept. 28, four day after his 1989 Buick LeSabre was found parked at Rutledge’s Playfair Park. Officials used both tracking and cadaver dogs in an attempt to locate Walker. Department of Natural Resource officers used a sonar device to search a pond near the park.
At approximately 1 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 1 Walker was observed in apparent good health and good spirits leaving the Morgan County Public Safety Center with his niece Amy Russell.
Russell said Monday that Walker had become “frustrated” with his living arrangements in Henry County and had left that house and lived in a motel for 11 days in Covington. Russell said Walker told her that he then drove to Rutledge, in part, because he and his widow had lived briefly in the area prior to her death, and after he arrived his car wouldn’t start.
“He said he just started walking,” she said.
Walker told her he lived “in the woods” for approximately five days, coming out to purchase cigarettes and some food. “He said he had enough to get by.” She said he was in good health and had moved back to Henry County. She said he suffers from a severe hearing disability and would not have heard people searching for him. She said his family was relieved he was found.
“He’s the sweetest man you’ll ever meet in your life,” she said.