They’ve been looking for 52-year-old Alvin Lamont Breeden since March 1. Now, the family is looking for closure.
“His bank account hasn’t been touched; he hasn’t called us,” said Kathy Breeden White, Breeden’s sister. “I don’t think he’s coming back. I hope he is, but with the time frame and everything going on, he wouldn’t have stayed away from his family that long at all.”
Police describe Breeden as a 6-foot 3 black male with a medium build. He was last seen wearing a red and white shirt with short sleeves, blue jeans, a black jacket with red trim and red and orange sneakers on March 1.
The last time his sister saw Breeden, he was caring for his 81-year-old mother at their home the afternoon of March 1. She said Breeden left to meet his friends down the street near the intersection of N.C. 55 and Gaston Avenue in Durham.
Breeden has suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) for 12 years, his sister said. He was in the U.S. Navy from 1988 to 1992, served a tour as a hospital corpsman during Operation Desert Storm and was later stationed in Pensacola, Florida.
Before his disappearance, he was enrolled in a vocational rehabilitation course offered by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, hoping to receive a nursing assistant certification. Prior to that he had worked at an electronic cigarette store.
He obtained a bachelor’s degree in human resources management with an specialization in health care from Troy State University in Alabama in 1991 and a master’s degree in human development and counseling from Troy State in 1992.
He worked at several group homes, including the nonprofit Healing with CAARE, Inc., which helps at-risk people. He then served as a counselor for teachers, administrators and students for the Durham Public Schools.
Although Breeden lived with his 81-year-old mother, Mildred Hunter, he often visited his sister, who was immobilized for a year until last November due to a series of surgeries. She says her younger brother was there to help her.
“I wasn’t able to do anything for a year, and he was always by my side, I mean cleaning, just helping me around the house,” she said.
She added it’s unlikely he resisted a robbery because he was a selfless man.
“He would give anybody the shirt off his back,” she said. “He was just that type of person. He wasn’t selfish at all and he was always willing to help people.”
Breeden White said her brother is not only devoted to helping the family, but also people in the community — he paid for his coworkers’ gas when they couldn’t afford it and often walked an elderly neighbor’s dog.
“We thought that’s what he was going to do, walk her dog, but he never came back,” she said.
After a few days of not knowing Breeden’s whereabouts, the family assumed he had traveled out of town. They waited a week to file a police report, fearing they would report a false alarm since he had never gone missing before.
“There’s some police departments that ask (you) to wait 48 hours, but if you feel the person is missing, if you have concerns, you should report it,” Durham Police Department spokesman Wil Glenn said.
When a person is reported missing, Durham police submit an alert to the FBI’s National Crime Information Center, and every law enforcement agency in the country can see it. Then the investigator assigned to the case proceeds to evaluate the details and act as necessary, Glenn said.
Attempts to reach Durham police Sgt. J.D. Piatt, who is handling the Breeden case, were unsuccessful as of early Friday evening.
The family had been questioning anyone who might have information about Breeden’s whereabouts since his disappearance. On Wednesday, March 21, family and friends began searching the woods near N.C. 55.
Breeden has three children — Parris Brewton of Tallahassee, Florida, Hailee Breeden of Durham and Genera Barnes of Maryland. He has another sister, Marion Breeden, and several nieces and nephews, with whom he is close.
“I know my brother so well that (I know) he’s not coming back right now,” said Breeden White. “I don’t know if he’s been hurt. I don’t know what has happened to him, but I do know this is not him at all,” she said.
Editor's Note: This story was corrected on Sunday, March 25 to reflect that Mr. Breeden is 6-foot-3 according to his family, not 5-foot-10 as stated in the original police report and to correct the spellings of the names of two of his children, Parris Brewton and Genera Barnes.