Mother organizes searches along Greenville greenway for missing son

Mother organizes searches along Greenville greenway for missing son
Published: Dec. 16, 2022 at 4:53 PM EST
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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - An Eastern Carolina mother is begging for answers in the search for her missing son.

Khalil Jefferson, 22, was last seen on December 2nd at Greensprings Park in Greenville.

On Friday, the mother led a group of loved ones and even strangers along the Greenville greenway walking trail looking for anything that could lead to finding him.

“I’m not going to go away quietly. I’m going to be as loud as I can be,” she said. Persistent is the best word to describe Sonona Jefferson’s mentality in the search for her son.

“He served in the Air Force. He’s a veteran,” she said, describing him. “He was actively living life.”

Leading a group of family, friends, and volunteers Friday morning, she says she’ll stop at nothing until he’s home.

Khalil’s vehicle was found parked at Greensprings Park, which has an entrance to the greenway. Jefferson feels he could be anywhere along the 9-mile path or beyond.

“I found his jacket in the river, in the Tar River. The jacket contained his keys, his cellphone, and his glasses,” Jefferson explained. “We have searched the river. We have searched the area in which we found all his personal belongings.”

To widen their search, the group started at the Beech Street entrance to the walkway. “We wish to eliminate any possibility that he is in any of these areas,” she said.

Volunteers and friends said they didn’t hesitate to join in.

“We really do gotta come together as a community to find him,” said Leonel Perez. “We can’t be careless about people’s lives.”

“How could I not come out and show support? You know, it’s the least I could do,” Astin Hargett, a friend of the missing man said.

Jefferson, while thankful for the support, said she is fighting through the heartache to demand answers. “I am distraught. My emotions are everywhere, and it is very hard for me to keep it together, but I have to keep it together because that’s the only way that we are going to be able to find him,” Jefferson said.

Police say they have conducted numerous searches for Jefferson with no success. They believe he left on his own accord and may possibly be suicidal. They do not suspect foul play or criminal activity.

If you want to help in the search, Jefferson is leading another search party Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. to continue looking. Each time, they’ll meet at Greensprings Park. She recommends volunteers wear light-colored and warm clothing and wearing waterproof shoes.