TERRY JAY BISHOP
BIG STONE GAP — The family of Terry Jay Bishop, who disappeared from his home around May 8, has posted a reward in a bid to flush out information leading to the whereabouts of the 60-year-old Big Stone Gap man.
Known to family and close acquaintances as “Ghost,” Bishop’s last verified sighting was making a purchase at about 9:48 p.m. on May 8 at a convenience store near his Little Italy Bottom residence.
Evidence indicates Bishop returned home, but what became of him since has baffled his family and police. A brother, Robert Bishop, daily checked on Terry and did so early on May 9 and found both doors to the residence unlocked, the house and car keys on the kitchen table and the car parked in front of the home. But there was no trace of the missing man.
Robert Bishop reported his brother missing to Big Stone Gap police by early afternoon on May 9 because it was unlike Terry Bishop to wander far or stay long from his house, particularly on foot, and because the missing man needs prescription medication for blood sugar and mild mental issues.
Also, Terry Bishop always kept his doors locked even when going next door, where another of his brothers resides.
Police, local rescue squad and volunteer fire department personnel, and other volunteers have searched the area — including kayaking nearby stretches of the Powell River — immediately surrounding the home and adjacent neighborhoods to no avail.
Family members believe a recent change in medication may have addled Bishop into simply wandering off. The fact he can’t be found baffles all concerned, however.
“It’s heartbreaking. It’s just, it’s like a dream that he would just disappear off the face of the earth without a clue,” said Bishop’s sister, Gloria “Jeannie” Bishop Early of Melbourne, Fla. “We took this new reward thing to the police department and took it up to the (Wise County) Courthouse. We had a lawyer write it up for us to get it out all proper.”
The amount of the reward isn’t divulged, but the family hopes the offer will result in credible information that will lead to finding their brother.
“Since I’ve been up here, we’ll be driving around and you just look out and think you will see him walking down the street any minute, and he’ll say, ‘You all shouldn’t worry about me.’ It’s just a dream he could disappear with no trace at all,” Early said.
“I watch all those TV shows and thought it would never happen to us, and all of a sudden, it happens. We’ve looked at every possible place we could think of. It just seems so unreal for him to disappear without one ounce of evidence or anything. One reason we want his medical records for the last six months is to see if he’s been on anything that would interfere with his schizophrenia. We just don’t know. We’re all at a loss how anybody could just disappear without a trace, without a clue whatsoever.”
Her missing brother is 5 feet 8 inches tall, between 175 and 200 pounds, with blue eyes, brown hair and a moustache. Anyone with information is urged to call Big Stone Gap Police Sgt. W.A. “Turk” Hollinger at (276) 523-0117.
“Sgt. Hollinger suggested we offer a reward, so that’s what we decided to do,” Early said. “We’re just at a loss, and we’ve got everybody in the world praying for us. To come to this house and him not here, it feels just like it did when our mommy passed away. We don’t like to think that way. We have to think positive. We’re going to find him. We hope so very much, anyway.”