Missing man stopped taking meds to treat paranoid schizophrenia before disappearance, girlfriend says

Regina Darlene Snyder asks for help finding her boyfriend, David Dewayne Abbott, during a press conference Wednesday morning. Snyder said Abbott suffers from paranoid schizophrenia and has not taken his medication for about a month.
Regina Darlene Snyder asks for help finding her boyfriend, David Dewayne Abbott, during a press conference Wednesday morning. Snyder said Abbott suffers from paranoid schizophrenia and has not taken his medication for about a month.

FORT OGLETHORPE - She returned Wednesday morning, as she had for the past two weeks, to knock on doors and pass around pictures and cross her fingers.

There, on 39-year-old Regina Darlene Snyder's left ring finger, in black ink, is his name. David. They've been together for decades now, helped raise children together. But in April, she said, David Dewayne Abbott started acting funny, started talking about seeing and hearing things that weren't in the room.

A doctor diagnosed Abbott with paranoid schizophrenia. He had been taking medication, but he didn't like the way the pills made him feel. He stopped using them about a month ago, Snyder said. She hoped he would go back to the doctor for a new prescription or a new dosage. Something different.

On June 22, he called her. The hallucinations were back, Snyder thinks. She asked a neighbor at the Brentwood Apartments to check on Abbott. The neighbor said Abbott was in the parking lot, ranting about nonsense, then saying he got in a fight with Snyder. She tried to visit him around 11 p.m.

The door was open. Abbott was gone, leaving behind everything but his keys and wallet. Around 12:30 a.m. on June 23, Snyder said, Abbott called her daughter and told her he was in Knoxville. They haven't heard from him since.

And while her family has reported Abbott missing to police, and while the police have found his truck in McMinn County and canvassed the area, no one has found Abbott. Fort Oglethorpe police Lt. Steve Blevins said investigators are out of leads. So Wednesday, Snyder asked the public to help during a news conference.

"I just think that he " Snyder said, standing in front of a lectern with an image of her boyfriend's face on it. She turned away from the cameras, began to cry and apologized for the hiccup.

"He wouldn't have just left, without a reason."

Blevins said officers found Abbott's truck on June 24 off County Road 126 in McMinn County. Neighbors and people who work nearby said they saw a man who looks like Abbott around the area, but they don't know where they went.

Snyder said a woman told her she thought she saw Abbott with a couple of Hispanic men who got in a white car. She thought one of the men's names was Hector and that the men would be back in a couple of days.

None of those leads have gone anywhere, Blevins and Snyder said. They've checked local motels, where this neighbor claimed Hector stayed. They've found no such man.

Blevins said Athens, Tenn., police and the McMinn County Sheriff's Office have helped with the search, but no one has done more work than Snyder. But she, too, is running out of ideas, which is why she is asking for the public's help. She said Abbott was last seen in black shorts, flip-flops and a sleeveless shirt.

And while the distributed photo of him shows a man with long hair, Abbott had recently buzzed the sides of his head, keeping the top slightly longer. Anyone with information can call Blevins at 706-866-2512.

"I'm afraid he's hurt," Snyder said. "He needs help. He needs to find his family. He may not know who he is. He may not know where he's from. I just want him to be found. I want him home. I want him helped."

Contact staff writer Tyler Jett at 423-757-6476 or at tjett@timesfreepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @LetsJett.

Upcoming Events