HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) — Minutes seem like hours for 40-year-old Stephen Cleaton’s family.
Stephen Cleaton, who is from Hampton, disappeared 30 days ago.
“It’s been numb and kind of back and forth and emotional… I just had a numb feeling yesterday and today mostly. I just want to know if he’s somewhere,” said Stephen’s mother, Karen Norris, with tears in her eyes.
On Aug. 29, Michael Cleaton said he picked up his brother Stephen Cleaton from a halfway house in Richmond.
He said they were headed eastbound on Interstate 64 when Stephen Cleaton became frantic after not taking the medication used to treat his schizophrenia.
“I’m driving down the interstate and he wants to hop out the car. I’m like, ‘Stephen, you can’t get out,'” Michael Cleaton said.
As he was driving, he said he called Henrico police to try and help get him under control.
“I talked to him, I said, ‘Stephen I love you brother. I’m just going to take you to mom’s. We’ll go there and calm down. Everything will be alright,'” explained Michael Cleaton.
Michael said he pulled over to make sure he was okay when Stephen jumped the guardrail and ran into the woods just before mile marker 205 in Henrico around 7 p.m.
He said that was the last time he saw his brother and his family has been worried sick ever since.
“I feel like he’s deceased or had a heart attack or something in the woods, or fallen in the woods, and I just want to find him so we can put it to rest,” Michael Cleaton said.
The missing person posters describe Stephen as 6 feet tall. He was last seen wearing black Crocs, a torn shirt, and dark plaid pants.
Henrico police said they stopped ground search efforts on Sept. 12 after eight ground searches with multiple resources and a variety of agencies.
Police said in one of those searches, a bloodhound dog tracked Stephen Cleaton to the intersection of Meadow Road and Williamsburg Road.
However, Michael said he’s been out there every day since his brother went missing and said there was only a total of four searches. He believes police could be doing more to help. He also said after talking to a detective, he learned a total of 1.5 miles were covered by canine searches.
Henrico police also described multiple leads that were followed, but ultimately did not result in any concrete evidence.
They’re asking if you see him, to give them a call at 804-501-5000 or your local police agency if it’s outside of Henrico.
Meanwhile, the family is taking the ground search into their own hands by holding a community search in the area he went missing Saturday morning.
For more information on the search party on Saturday, contact Michael Cleaton at 757-207-0104.