Every day for the last year, Jessie Dunn has been searching for her son, Richard Bird, but finding help has not been easy. May 30, 2007 was the last time Dunn heard from her 40-year-old son, Richard Bird. "I took him up to the Shallotte Hardee's to get on the Greyhound bus and that was the last time that I saw him," said Dunn. "That bye and that I love you mom was different. It was like he was really telling me goodbye." When Richard didn't call her on her birthday, Dunn knew something was wrong. So, she filed a missing person report, and tried contacting a number of missing person organizations. "There's not a lot out there if they are not a child or a senior citizen as far as what I've found. There's nothing -- including police help," said Dunn. Law enforcement officials say because many adults "choose" to go missing, unless there is evidence the person is in danger, it is unlikely there will be an active investigation. The names are entered into a national criminal investigation database, so if the person has any contact with law enforcement anywhere in the country, they will see that the person is missing and contact the family. Dunn said, "At this point, that's what I need. I need to know if he's dead. I pray everyday for a sign." Dunn said her son's life wasn't easy. He suffered from multiple sclerosis, and depression. He became addicted to his pain medication and anti-depressants. Dunn said he started getting the medications and other drugs from dealers. Then he was caught. With a record, Bird lost his disability payments. "We contacted so many people, even out of state, and due to his finances he didn't have a job. He couldn't work, he has MS, and because he had no money, no Medicaid, there was no programs," said Dunn. She wishes he could have gotten help before the problems spun out of control. Now, Dunn focuses her energy on finding her son. Dunn said, "I will never give up. I'm his mother and mother's never give up." If you know anything about Richard's whereabouts, please let us know. Also if you or a loved one needs mental health, or substance abuse help, there are programs and resources available. You can contact Coastal Horizons for help and additional information on free programs and support groups at 910-343-0145.
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