John Bruce Philips is Missing

Carteret County News Times (online newspaper) – Friday, June 5, 2015 12:00 pm
Staff report

CAPE CARTERET — For six weeks there’s been no sign of a town resident, and his family has decided to hold a service in his memory, accepting in their minds that he has died.

Police say John Bruce Philips, 50, walked away from his Star Hill North home on foot around 9 a.m. April 27 and hasn’t been found since, despite a search by law enforcement, friends and family.

“We want closure,” Mr. Philips’ father, John Philips, told the News-Times Thursday.

Town Police Chief Tony Rivera said the case remains open.

The family announced the upcoming memorial service, as well as a thank you to all those who helped in the search.

The service is set for 2 p.m. Saturday, June 13, at Jones Funeral Home in Swansboro with the Rev. Ben Burrows officiating, according to the funeral home.

John Bruce Philips is deaf. Police say his direction of travel was unknown.

According to Chief Rivera in a phone interview Wednesday, there is no new evidence pertaining to Mr. Philips.

“There is no evidence of a crime,” he said. “Mr. Philips simply walked away from his home and his direction of travel is unknown.”

On April 28, a N.C. Highway Patrol helicopter flew the area for about six hours, but even with high-tech search equipment, nothing was found. On the following Saturday a volunteer civilian search group conducted a foot search of the Croatan National Forest. Nothing was found.

Mr. Philips was described by police as a white male, 5 feet, 10 inches tall, weighing 170 pounds.

He has brown eyes and brown hair. He was last seen wearing a blue long-sleeved polo shirt, a dark green jacket, jeans and gray athletic shoes with orange soles.

According to the funeral home, Mr. Philips is survived by his wife, Raisa R. Philips; sons, James and William; daughter, Lara; parents John and Fay Philips of Nokomis, Fla.; and brother Stephen Philips of Long Island, N.Y.

The family issued the following statement:

“Family and friends of John Bruce Philips thank you from the bottom of our hearts. A special thanks goes to Craig and Sheila Eason for organizing the private search party on foot through Croatan National Forest, Pastor Benjamin and Suzanne Burrows for providing guidance and spiritual comport. We give our heartfelt thanks to Cape Carteret Police Department and Western Carteret Fire Department for using their time and available resources to help support the search for John Bruce. We also like to express our gratitude to those citizens who provided support to us and our families throughout this ordeal including neighbors, friends near and far, work colleagues, businesses and the countless kind people who have sent messages of support and prayers. We thank you all, especially the following companies for their help and support:

“Donald Hult with Hadnot Creek Kennels, Dan Jones and neighbors, Cape Carteret Café, area Boy and Cub Scouts, Quiznos of Cape Carteret, Sam’s Club for water, Food Lion on Piney Green for water, Lowe’s Foods and Eason Excavation and Utilities.”


Carteret County News Times (online newspaper) – Monday, May 4, 2015 12:05 am
Helen Outland

CAPE CARTERET — Police here said the case involving a deaf man who has been missing since April 27 remains open, but no criminal activity is suspected.

John Bruce Philips, 50, the father of two, appears to have walked away from his home on foot around 9 a.m. He is a white male, 5 feet, 10 inches tall and weighs 170 pounds. He has brown eyes and brown hair. He lives in the Star Hill North neighborhood

Cape Carteret Police Chief Tony Rivera said Monday, May 4. that there is no criminal investigation, or reason to suspect any and Mr. Philips does not suffer from any sort of cognitive impairment.

“There is absolutely nothing to indicate any kind of criminal activity,” he said. “Nothing has yet been found to support this.”

He did say until such time as Mr. Philips returns home or some new information is forthcoming, the case would remain open.

Chief Rivera said in an earlier interview that his office had exhausted all possible leads. He said on Tuesday, April 28, an N.C. Highway Patrol helicopter flew the area for about six hours, but even with high-tech search equipment, nothing was found. On Saturday a volunteer civilian search group met at 9 a.m. to conduct a foot search of the Croatan National Forest.

“Nothing was found during the foot search,” said the chief.

Mr. Philips was last seen wearing a blue long-sleeved polo shirt, a dark green jacket, jeans and gray athletic shoes with orange soles according to a town police department press release. Although he was not driving his car, he may have his N.C. driver’s license with him.

His direction of travel after leaving his residence is unknown, according to Chief Rivera.


Carteret County News Times (online newspaper) – Friday, May 1, 2015 10:06 am
Staff report

Missing Person: This is the poster advertising for a search party to look for John Bruce Philips of Cape Carteret, who has been missing since Monday. (Contributed photo)

CAPE CARTERET – A deaf man has been missing since Monday morning, and although the police department says it has exhausted any possible leads, a civilian search group will meet at 9 a.m. Saturday for a foot search of the Croatan National Forest.

John Bruce Philips, 50, was last seen leaving his home on foot around 9 a.m. Monday. Mr. Philips is a white male that is 5 feet, 10 inches tall and weighs 170 pounds. He has brown eyes and brown hair. He lives in the Star Hill North neighborhood.

He was last seen wearing a blue long sleeved polo shirt, a dark green jacket, jeans and gray athletic shoes with orange soles according to a town police department press release. He may have his N.C. drivers license with him.

His direction of travel after leaving his residence is unknown, according to Cape Carteret Police Chief Tony Rivera.

Chief Rivera said the police department has searched all week for Mr. Philips with the help of search dogs from area departments and with help from the County Sheriff’s Department. A helicopter was also used to search for Mr. Philips, but there have been no leads, he said.

Craig Eason, a colleague of Mr. Philips’ wife, has organized the search party that will meet at the access road between St. Augustine Drive and Star Hill Drive at 9 a.m. Saturday, and then search the Croatan National Forest. Participants must wear hunters orange, according to an email sent to the News-Times.

“There is nothing to indicate foul play or abduction,” said Chief Rivera. “It appears he voluntarily left.”

Chief Rivera said the police department believes any additional search would be “more of a recovery at this point.”

Anyone who has information on Mr. Philips’ whereabouts is asked to contact the Cape Carteret Police Department at 393-2183.

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