UPDATE: The search parties have been called off after Tony Benedict was located. More information will be provided as it becomes available.
Search parties are planned for this afternoon to help locate a Peru man who was last seen in Kokomo Sunday night.
Tony Benedict, 26, was last spotted on West Walnut Street around 7 p.m. on Jan. 3. According to his wife, Sarah Benedict, he was with a group of friends and returning back to where his truck was parked. Sarah was expecting her husband back home in Peru that night as they had a game night planned with her brother.
It wasn’t until around 9 p.m. that Sarah said she started to get really concerned.
“It wasn’t until later (that I started to worry) because he’s been known to be with these guys and lose track of time. So it was about 9 o’clock that I started seriously questioning where he was at that point,” Sarah said.
She hasn’t heard from him since.
Benedict’s phone rang up until Monday morning around 6:30 a.m. when Sarah said it then started to go straight to voicemail. She spoke to his phone provider, and it’s believe his phone battery has died.
A police report was filed yesterday afternoon just after 1 p.m.
Now, friends of the Benedicts are helping to organize search parties to help locate the 26-year-old. Those wishing to help can show up at Martino’s Italian Villa, located at 1929 N. Washington St., today at 12 p.m. and 3 p.m. Routes will be assigned to those helping in the search to cover “as much ground as we possibly can.”
While Sarah said her husband typically took the highways to and from Kokomo, where he works at The Coterie, he may have taken backroads Sunday night.
“From what I understand, at the time that he got dropped off, he was upset. He had just been in an argument with one of the other guys, and normally when he gets upset, he will end up going driving to cool down,” Sarah said. “And so the comment was made to one of the other guys that he was OK to drive home because they asked him that question. So I’m just kind of confused because he had just been taking the main highways, but with him being upset, he does know the backroads pretty well. So it is possible that he decided to drive and take the backroads to take a longer route home.”
Now, Sarah is hoping enough people help search to cover both the main highways and the backroads.
The Benedicts have been married for three months, and Sarah said they weren’t having any marital problems to cause her to believe he left on his own. When asked if the Kokomo Police Department will be assisting in the search, she said she wasn’t sure.
“Honestly, I don’t really know. They were trying to convince me that he just probably ran off somewhere. That’s not my husband. I mean we’ve only been married for three months, but we’ve been together for several years now. The whole time during the wedding, I mean, he just kept yelling, ‘Oh, my gosh, you’re my wife!’ We weren’t having any marital problems or anything like that, so I really don’t feel like it’s the case that he just ran off to be with somebody else,” she said.
Benedict is about 5’5” to 5’6” and 120 pounds. He’s believed to be wearing a black heavy jean jacket with patches and pins on it and possibly a burgundy baseball cap. His truck, a 1994 Ford Ranger that’s purple in color, also is missing. The back windshield has a “Kokomo Coterie” and “Vans” sticker on it, and there’s a silver toolbox in the back of the truck.
Sarah said her husband had an accident in high school that caused him to lose bicep muscle in one arm, so if he’s been in an accident, she believes he might be struck or trapped as it would be difficult for him to push his way out.
Those with any information are asked to call the Kokomo Police Department at 765-457-1105 or Sarah at 765-244-7636. Those wishing to help search but are unable to at 12 and 3 p.m. today still can help by calling Sarah and being assigned a route.