Originally created 01/14/02

Authorities search for missing man



Authorities searched by helicopter this morning for a missing Hephzibah man and are now asking the public for help.

Gilbert Figueroa-Suarez, 47, left his home in the 3700 block of Kingsgate Drive about 5 a.m. today, according to a police report. He left behind a note and cassette tape that his wife and son interpreted as a farewell message, said Richmond County Sheriff's Investigator Wayne Bunton. He also left home without his wallet and other personal belongings.

Mr. Figueroa-Suarez was driving a silver GMC Sierra mini-van. Sheriff's officers searched a Hephzibah area using a Georgia State patrol helicopter this morning but did not find the vehicle, Investigator Bunton said.

Sheriff's officials are concerned that Mr. Figueroa-Suarez may try to harm himself, and they are not sure whether he could pose a danger to other people.

Mr. Figueroa-Suarez was last seen wearing a blue and white flannel jacket, blue jeans, a gray T-shirt and white Avia-brand tennis shoes.

Anyone with information on his whereabouts are asked to call Investigator Bunton or any sheriff's official at 821-1020 today, or 821-1080 after business hours.