Family members plea for safe return of West Columbia man

WEST COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) – The Lexington County Sheriff's Department has been searching for a missing West Columbia man since Sunday. Deputies say 22-year-old Michael George was last seen early Saturday morning and going on a week later, his family members are devastated.

"I just want my son home safely," said Michael's mom, Helen. "If anybody knows anything-- please let us know."

Lexington County Sheriff's Deputies believe George was last seen in public at Shooters Pub & Grill off of the Charleston Highway in Cayce.

Deputies say he had been drinking and left the bar with an acquaintance. Authorities believe he went to that person's home in Swansea and then left Swansea a few hours later.

"His vehicle was found here (in the area of Beckman Road and Lena Drive in West Columbia) in the afternoon on Christmas Day," said Maj. John Allard with the sheriff's department. "We're not sure what transpired after he left the acquaintance's home in Swansea and why he was in this area and what happened to where his vehicle would be abandoned here."

Deputies and family members say at this point they have a lot more questions than answers. They say the 22 year-old is a loving father of two and does not go a day without calling his relatives.

Johnny Wannamaker says George is like a brother to him. He says he saw George just before he went out on Friday."He was wearing his black Mossy Oak shirt, a pair of white khaki dress shorts, and white Nikes," said Wannamaker.

George's family says he had his mother's cell phone with him and deputies say they believe it no longer has power.

"I had been trying to call him and all it was doing was just ringing," said George's mom, Helen. "Then at one point it went straight to voicemail."

Authorities say they've questioned the acquaintance that was last seen with George. "At this point, we don't have any reason to believe he was involved in any way with Mr. George's disappearance," said Allard.

But deputies say they're may be reason to believe someone knows something about what happened to George.

"It certainly would be out of character for him not to talk to his family," said Allard. "We're very concerned that something may have happened to him and that's why we're asking for the public's help."

"This is not like my son to be gone so long," said Helen. "Please let him come home."

Sheriff's deputies say they're going to continue their search by air and on the ground. In the meantime, if you have any information on the whereabouts of Michael George, you're asked to contact the Lexington County Sheriff's Department at (803) 785-8230 or CrimeStoppers at 1-888-CRIME-SC.

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