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‘The Lord is watching you:’ Family of missing Bladen County man hopes billboard will advance case

Published: Oct. 12, 2021 at 2:42 PM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - The search for missing man Brandon McDonald is still active.

Seven months after the Bladen County father was last seen leaving his house in Clarkton, his family still has no answers. However, they do have hope a new billboard installed by the CUE Center on NC 211 might help bring him home.

The large sign unveiled Monday is the first thing you see arriving in Clarkton, and the last thing you see when you leave. It’s meant to catch the attention of passing drivers, but the finished sign is a difficult sight for his family to bear.

“This is a lot of emotions. Who would’ve thought in 150 years I’d be posting something like that,” said McDonald’s mother, Dena Cox, through tears. “He’s a kind, gentle soul. That was our only child and we only have one granddaughter — that’s 10 — he has a little girl that’s 10.″

With no sign of him for months, and no use of his phone or credit cards, investigators formally announced they suspect foul play in his disappearance. His phone last pinged in Laurinburg, and his truck was found crashed and abandoned in Hope Mills.

“It’s a very hard case, the reason being because it involves three counties. We’re in Bladen County, that’s where he lived, things happened in Cumberland County and some things have occurred in Scotland County,” said Bladen County Sheriff James McVicker.

The sheriff says the lead investigator assigned to the case has made several trips around the region and is still following multiple leads, hoping for a resolution soon.

“I like to think about it as if it was my family member. I want to make sure everything has been done that can be done, and I’ll give you my word, Captain Johnson is doing that,” added the sheriff.

As difficult as it is for family to see the billboard, it’s also a reminder that someone could still come forward and bring the investigation to a close and allow them to finally lay McDonald to rest.

His mother is steadfast in her belief justice will come to anyone who harmed her son, one way or another.

“Somebody out there knows something. You might not get your due here but you’re going to get your due because the Lord is watching you,” said Cox.

The family is offering a $10,000 reward on top of the governor’s office granting the Bladen County Sheriff’s Office request for a $5,000 reward for information on the case. Anyone with any details is asked to call the sheriff’s office or the CUE center.

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