Media reports on the mysterious disappearance of an Atlanta chef helped his family find him after several days of searching.
Darrell Rice, 43, a chef and father of a young son who had been missing since last week, was found safe at an Atlanta hospital on Monday, after an anonymous tip led his family there, NBC News reports,
Rice had last been seen on security footage in an Atlanta Publix supermarket on Wednesday, May 3.
According to NBC News, Darrell’s family reported him missing after his sister, Krista Lanthrip, had been unable to reach him. Concerned, she made a trip to his apartment on Friday morning. She found his car in the parking lot, and his unlocked apartment in a state of disarray.
“The shelves were tilted over. The Lego houses he built with his son were destroyed. And we found his keys, cellphone and wallet inside,” Lanthrip told NBC’s Dateline.
Alarmed, she called the police.
Two downstairs neighbors later told Lanthrip they had heard several loud thuds around 2:00 a.m. the morning after Rice was seen at the grocery store.
Family and friends had told Dateline that they could not imagine what had happened to Darrell, especially as he failed to pick up his son from his ex-wife’s home for a planned visit on Sunday.
“We were all just holding our breath, because he would have dragged himself there bleeding to see his son if he had to,” his sister said.
Zahra Mas, a longtime family friend, told Dateline that Darrell had recently won a cooking competition, and that she was not aware of anything going on in his life to explain the disappearance.
The search came to a conclusion when an anonymous tip led Rice’s family to the hospital, where NBC News reports he was found safe but disoriented.
Further details about the circumstances of his disappearance are not yet known.
Mas reportedly told NBC that the tip came as a direct result of the Dateline story on Rice.
In a Facebook post Tuesday morning, Dateline thanked its followers and said “a single share really can make a difference and bring someone home.”
Photo: Family handout