The sister of a missing Florida man says she fears for her brother's safety and is appealing to the public for help.
Richard Dean Cook, 51, was last seen in Deltona on Aug. 15. His vehicle, a 2003 Chevy S10 pickup truck, is also missing.
"He had lunch with our dad at my aunt's house. Afterward, he got into his truck and drove away. That was the last anyone has seen him,” Cook's sister, Tammie Freeland, told The Huffington Post.
Cook's father waited two days for his son to return. When he did not show up, he reported him missing to the Volusia County Sheriff's Office.
Cook, originally a native of Erie, Penn., had recently lost his job as a grounds keeper at a local Florida school, according to sheriff's spokesman Gary Davidson. He had been looking for work in nearby DeLand. Davidson said Cook has no known physical or mental impairments. Family members said it is out of character for him to stay away from home overnight.
"His immediate family did not think he was depressed or suicidal about his job loss," Davidson told The Huffington Post.
Sheriff's investigators said Cook had a small amount of money on him. There has been no activity on his bank account since the day he disappeared.
"Unfortunately, we don't have anything to go on," Davidson said. "We don't have any specific information pointing to foul play, but we simply don't know what happened. The investigation has gone nowhere at this point."
Asked whether investigators have attempted to ping the location of Cook’s cellphone -- an investigative method that can be used to trace its location using nearby cell towers -- Davidson replied, "We have attempted just about every investigative avenue and have come up empty handed."
Freeland and other family members have organized searches for Cook, passed out posters and created a Facebook page devoted to the case. So far, those efforts have failed to produce any new leads.
"After one month we still have nothing. Not one lead," Freeland said. "We need all the help we can get."
Cook is 6 feet 2 inches tall, weighs approximately 210 pounds and has black hair and blue eyes. He was last seen wearing blue pants, a dark-colored shirt and shoes. His Chevy S10 pickup truck is green, with a white camper top and Florida tag N232IW.
Anyone with information on Cook’s whereabouts is asked to call the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office at 386-736-5999.
PHOTOS OF RICHARD COOK
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