Missing: Oct 5, 2000
Missing from:Roseboro,North Carolina
DOB: Jul 16, 1996
Weight: 38 lbs
Circumstances of Disappearance:
He was last seen walking near his home and may have been walking with a tan Chihuahua and a black Doberman. The dogs were subsequently located. At the time of his disappearance, Tristen was wearing a black T-shirt, blue jeans, and white tennis shoes. He has a scar on the left side of his neck. His full name is Tristen Alan Myers but he uses the nickname “Buddy”. He may be in need of medical attention.
Sampson County Sheriff’s Office
2013-The yellow ribbons are forgotten now
By Jefferson Weaver
I ran into an old acquaintance the other day and for a moment wondered about the beautiful young woman beside him.
I was shocked to discover she was his daughter, a little girl I’ve known most of her life. She flashed a shy, embarrassed smile and jangled a key ring complicated with geegaws and fooforaw.
“I can’t believe she’s old enough to have her license,” the fellow said. I couldn’t either; she had grown up without me realizing it. Since her dad and I are not exactly close, I had only occasionally seen his girl, but it got me to thinking about other little kids.
Like most boys and girls his age, including my friend’s daughter, Buddy Myers would be driving now.
If he stayed true to the form he was showing as a four-year-old not many of us ever knew, Buddy would likely be sweating and slamming his way through September afternoons. He enjoyed football, Nascar and his great-uncle’s 18-wheeler. He loved horses and his two dogs.
Buddy went to live with his great-aunt and uncle after a series of sad events we won’t worry about right now. I have recounted those events often enough, since I’ve been writing this particular column around this date for 12 years now.
Buddy’s great-aunt laid down one beautiful October afternoon or a little nap with her boy. When she woke up, Buddy was gone.
We had gone to bed when my editor called that night and wanted me on the scene. The Old Man was sick at the time, dealing with the ailments which would take him home the next May, but Miss Rhonda and I headed for Microwave Tower Road outside of Roseboro as fast as we could.
I had been on searches before; been there to witness the cheers and tears as a little girl was found safe, and been there when a relieved pair of moms applied switches to the rear ends of two boys of around 12 who decided running away and hiding would be a great prank. They got frightened when the joke went too far and the searchers spread through the fields. While they apparently had escape and evasion skills that would do a Green Beret proud, they couldn’t escape the wrath of an angry, worried mom.A large, friendly search dog found them hiding under an abandoned house. The kids had been within earshot of—and hiding from—a hundred searchers for hours.
There would be no whippin’ for Buddy Myers. The tow-headed little boy occasionally wandered off, but never far; he went down a path to visit a neighbor’s horses, and he went behind a barn on the property play with his dogs.
He was never outside earshot of his home, and never failed to come when called.
Flashlights cut the sky as we pulled up the hill on a dusty road leading into the Myers’ home. The beams from the law enforcement Kel-lites and Maglites and Q-beams carried by everyone back then cut through the dust cloud and growing fog like laser beams. As we stopped the car, the first thing I heard was people hollering “Bobby! Bobby!”, since someone had misheard Buddy’s nickname.
My wife and I joined a search party that night, riding with two Wildlife officers as we checked the pen where Buddy went to see the horses. We fought clouds of mosquitoes, but found no sign of the missing boy.
No one did that night; a footprint seen the next day was thought to be old, and an action figure of one his favorite cartoon characters, found along another trail, was of little if any value.
We all got too close to that story; as a reporter, I’m supposed to remain objective, but I didn’t. Indeed, since the last time we observed this anniversary, I spoke to another reporter who was there, a fellow I’ve admired for years. His voice cracked when he recounted how he checked his own kids, several times a day and night, for a week afterward.
We made friends during the three-day search for Buddy; that’s where I met a loud, brash, bossy woman named Monica Caison, the founder and director of the CUE Center for Missing Persons, and we came to be close friends. Monica has hundreds of missing people in her heart and on her mind every night, since that’s what she does. She refuses to let folks forget; once in a while, she helps families say goodbye, when long-lost bones are found or a criminal confesses or, rarely, a family is reunited.
I met people during those days from other states, as well as some from my own community whom I didn’t know. None of them knew Buddy or his family, but they came to help, sleeping in tiny tents in a camp that grew beside a closed car dealership turned headquarters. Strangers shared their tents with other strangers, all of whom were there for one purpose—to help bring a little kid home to the family who loved him.
Every time a car turned into the parking lot with blue lights flashing, every time a helicopter landed, every time a radio squawked, everyone stopped and stared. We hoped, we prayed, we begged that the little boy who loved football and Nascar would come barreling out of a patrol car and into his grandma’s arms.
It never happened.
We may never know if buddy was kidnapped, as one of the cruel psychics claimed, or murdered, as the green-haired Ouija-board “master” said, or lost in one of the clay bogs a mile from his home, as many of us speculated. It was strange that his dogs came home during what was to be the last press conference of the search. There were a lot of things that never made sense, but the final word was that we didn’t know.
By the second day of the three-day search, yellow ribbons embraced utility poles all over Roseboro and “Missing” posters spread far and wide. Those yellow ribbons began to fade as more ribbons went up the next year, with the start of the war in Afghanistan and Iraq. The little boy’s disappearance was largely forgotten in the shadow of other news stories and tragedies.
Monica moved on to other missing people. I went from freelancing to working full-time; my parents passed away, as did Buddy’s great-uncle and his birth mother and others.
The yellow ribbons are forgotten now; here and there, you might find a thread or two left embedded in a utility pole, but I doubt it. For the most part, they are forgotten and faded.
But for some of us, the yellow ribbons are as stark and clear and fresh as flashlights cutting through the darkness, looking for a little kid we didn’t know and never would meet, a little kid named Buddy, who brought strangers together for three days in October and created a family.
|Weaver is a staff writer with the News Reporter. Call him at 642-4104, ext. 227; email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or catch up with him on facebook.com.|
2012 Forgotten yellow ribbons
The yellow ribbons are long forgotten now.
There might be a thread or two left to remind the world of Tristen Myers,
the little boy we call Buddy, but I didn’t see anything when last I drove
through Roseboro. Perhaps there is a darker streak on a utility pole, or a
thin place on the bark of a tree, where someone tied a yellow ribbon for a
little boy who disappeared. If there was, I didn’t see it.
Buddy was just a little kid who never seemed to get a break; I won’t go into
his life before he went to live with his Great Aunt Donna, but let’s just
say it was unstable at best. His eyes stare out from the missing poster
bearing his name. In the photo, he is patiently waiting awaiting the moment
Dad says it’s time to go fishing.
Buddy disappeared – there is no other word – on Oct. 5, 2000. His great aunt laid down to take a nap, while she thought Buddy, too, was asleep.
Sometime that afternoon the four-year-old left Donna’s house on Microwave Tower Road southwest of Roseboro. He took his two dogs with him. The dogs came home several days later.
Buddy still hasn’t.
Miss Rhonda and I were nearly asleep when my editor called that night. It
was 11 p.m., and he didn’t know who else to send. It was the beginning of
three long days and nights of mosquitoes and woods paths and rumors and
I am ashamed to admit I almost forgot Buddy this year; of course, his name
is one of the list of those we remember nightly in our prayers, along with
Alice Donovan, Britannee Drexell, and Michelle Bullard.
Michelle and Alice were found; Britannee’s family is still searching, as are
hundreds, if not thousands of other families.
But the one who started it all, the one who dragged me across the line
between objectivity and emotion, the one who really helped me learn that we in the news business are writing about people, not just things – that one
I was there throughout the active search for the little boy who loved
horses, NASCAR, and his great-uncle’s eighteen-wheeler. I was there when
the helicopter pilot spotted something in his infrared camera, and a
thousand collective breaths were held until he radioed back that it was the
body of a hunting hound, not a little boy. I was there when the volunteer
count topped 1,000, as people from a dozen and a half states came to North
Carolina to help find a little boy none of them knew. I was there when a
loud, bossy woman came up and introduced herself to the law officers as
being from the CUE Center for Missing Persons.
That lady was Monica Caison; we are still friends, even though I’ve written
hundreds of other stories since that humid October night, and she’s searched for hundreds more lost sons and daughters, mothers and fathers. When I last spoke to Monica, she was searching for the remains of a young woman named Samantha Burns. They are yet another family waits and hopes.
I don’t know if Monica had a spare second to remember Buddy on Oct. 5; were she to take a moment for every lost person on the day they disappeared, she wouldn’t have time to keep hunting for those lost folks.
I can’t imagine Monica’s dreams; I hope that she sleeps well, knowing in
her heart that she isn’t stopping her efforts to remind everyone that every
lost person is someone’s child. She remembers them, even when she can’t take the time to stop and cry.
I will admit, I never met Buddy, but I got to know him much better in the
months and weeks after he disappeared. I can’t believe that he would be
13 now; if his smile stayed the same, he would likely be the target of many
a giggling girl’s affection. Maybe he would have played baseball this
summer, and maybe he would be on a JV football team right now. He was little enough that there’s no doubt in my mind he went to Heaven if he died; that’s what happens to the littlest kids when they go away, of that I am sure.
The Lord comforts children, no matter what they’re going through; we adults just have a bad habit of ignoring His comfort as we grow up.
I write this column every year, in part to remember Buddy, in part for my
friend Monica, but mainly for the folks out there who don’t give up, the
ones who still, after all these years, tack “MISSING” posters on utility
poles and bulletin boards in stores and gas stations. Some of them write
letters to me every once in a while. I treasure those letters, and pray for
And we still pray every night for their lost loved ones.
The yellow ribbons are forgotten now, frayed and lost to time and rain and
wind and sun. The yellow ribbons may be frayed and forgotten, but they
still bind the people who cry in the night to those they pray to someday see
” By Jefferson Weaver”-