Chrystal Chambers of Fort Smith, Ark., is looking for her brother, Ricky Robinson.
Until about a year ago, Robinson, 48, was known to live in Lexington, working odd jobs. He answered to the nickname "Afro."
"I haven't seen him in at least 17 years," Chambers said. "He's lost his grandmother, his mother and his father in that time. Now, with me as sick as I am, I would really like to see him again."
Chambers is terminally ill with liver disease, ovarian cancer and several other medical problems.
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She has contacted military officials, the Red Cross and other agencies over the years, but she hasn't been successful in locating her brother. One day, while watching the TV program The Locator, she decided to call in the hope that investigators could do what she hadn't been able to.
Pamela Kish, an investigator with Search Quest America, based in Cape Coral, Fla., said she traced Robinson to Lexington through his Social Security number. He was living in the Georgetown Street area when she traced him here, Kish said.
Robert Jeter, who owns property in that area, said Robinson did yard work for him a couple of times.
Fayette County Constable Joyce Clater said she used to see him in that area "every single day, almost." But the last few times she saw him, his personality had changed for the worse. He had been polite and respectful in the past, but he was no longer so. She said she had heard that he had returned to his home in Arkansas.
Juanita Warren, a Georgetown Street resident, said she hasn't seen Robinson for about a year.
"He said he was going to Cincinnati, or Columbus, Dayton, Ohio for a job," Warren said. "He is well educated, had been to college."
Robinson, whom she had known for about six years, had dated a woman who was into drugs and had fallen into that habit himself, Warren said. But he didn't like that lifestyle, she said, and he had cleaned himself up before leaving town.
Others who knew him said he had won the lottery, left town, but returned before leaving again. Since then, his trail has grown cold.
Kish, the investigator, said she checks about twice a month for any hits on his Social Security number, but she has found nothing.
Robinson would occasionally talk about being from former President Bill Clinton's home state and that he had a mother and several siblings still in Arkansas, Warren said.
Robinson is one of seven children. Chambers' older brother told her that Robinson enlisted in the Army at an early age in the 1980s. He didn't write much and seldom came home, Chambers said.
Robinson did return, however, shortly before re-enlisting, despite a medical review saying that he was on the verge of a nervous breakdown, Chambers said.
He later received a medical discharge, Kish said.
"What would keep you away from your family?" Chambers asked.
Robinson visited his family in Stuttgart, Ark., about 17 years ago and stopped by to see her when she lived in Wynne, Ark. She hasn't seen him since.
Since she started looking, another brother, Terry Robinson, has fallen ill. He is in need of a bone marrow transplant, and the family is hoping that Ricky Robinson would be a good match.
Chambers said she doesn't have a picture of her brother. However, she described him as 5-foot-7, 135 to 145 pounds, brown skin, with thick eyebrows, big eyes, and a gold crown on a front tooth. He should be wearing glasses, she said.
Chambers said she thinks Robinson's disappearance worried her mother until she died in 2008. "She asked about him a lot in her last days," she said.
"It is just time for us to find him."
If you know of the whereabouts of Ricky "Afro" Robinson, call his sister at (828) 754-6644.
Kish has called me for several months, seeking my help in publicizing the need to find Robinson. Kish told me that Chambers was terminally ill. When I spoke with Chambers Sunday, her voice sounded very weak, but she became more animated when she talked about her brother. Please help her find him.