The four-month-long search for a missing Bennettsville man ended sadly this week with the discovery of his body inside his truck in a wooded area near the intersection of Highway 38 North and Highway 79.
Johnny Ray Adams, 64, was found Tuesday afternoon, in his truck and still wearing his seatbelt, in a ravine, Marlboro County Coroner Tim Brown said.
A resident who was in the woods looking for his lost dog saw the wreckage. Marlboro County Sheriff’s Office investigators then responded and made the discovery.
Brown has ruled the cause of death as accidental, due to injuries sustained in an automobile accident. He said it appeared Adams ran off the right side of the road in a curve and overcorrected, losing control and rolling into the ravine. Where the truck was ultimately found was not visible from the road.
With the discovery and the coroner’s ruling of the death as accidental, the Bennettsville Police Department has officially closed the missing person case on Adams.
He was reported missing by family members about four months ago. He was last seen on the night of June 15 when someone brought him back to his home at 214 Parsonage Street in Bennettsville after spending some time in McColl that evening.
The Bennettsville Police Department launched an extensive search for Adams and his vehicle, a green GMC pickup with distinguishing features including a diamond plate tool box, a chrome bull bar on the front and a round Gregg Allman sticker on the back glass.
A number of local, regional and state agencies, including aviation teams from both North and South Carolina, assisted in the search and investigation. The CUE Center for Missing Persons, based in North Carolina, also became involved, making a stop at Adams’ home on October 21 as part of a multi-state tour to raise awareness of the missing.
The Bennettsville Police Department issued the following statement late Wednesday:
“In regard to the discovery of the body of Mr. Johnny Adams on Tuesday, October 31, 2017, the Bennettsville Police Department would like to offer our sincerest condolences to the Adams family. The department would like to thank SLED, Hamlet Police Department, SC DNR Aviation Division, NC Forestry Aviation Division, CUE Center for Missing Persons, Marlboro County Sheriff’s Office and the community for all of the assistance in the efforts to find Mr. Adams. Every effort and resource was exhausted in the search for Mr. Adams. On behalf of the family and the department we would like to acknowledge and thank the individual who stumbled upon the wreckage in the woods looking for their lost dog. Their chance discovery hopefully brings closure to the Adams family. Upon the conclusion of Coroner Tim Brown’s ruling of the cause of death of Mr. Adams from injuries sustained and consistent with an automobile accident, the Bennettsville Police Department has officially closed the missing person case.”