Missing man last seen weeping weeks ago at War Memorial

Posted at 6:21 PM, Dec 11, 2013
and last updated 2013-12-11 20:31:18-05

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR)--Without a trace a man sight-seeing in Richmond disappeared and is now listed as a missing person.

Nearly three weeks have passed since 46-year-old Samuel Hoyt was last seen. Richmond police  said Hoyt was visiting the Virginia War Memorial on Belvidere Street around 6 a.m. on Nov. 22, the fiftieth anniversary of Kennedy's assassination.

Now his family worries the trail has gone cold, and they are asking the public for help. According to his cousin, the self-employed Philadelphia carpenter, who attended art school at VCU 20 years ago, was just visiting Richmond.

"It's thrown us all for a loop," said Austin Titus, cousin of  Hoyt.

A security guard spotted Hoyt weeping by the eternal flame, and the guard--knowing the war memorial can be an emotional trip for some--asked him if he was okay and left Hoyt alone. The guard also said that he spotted Hoyt placing flowers near the eternal flame.

Forty-five minutes after that encounter, the guard said he saw that Hoyt had left his passport, drivers license and other personal items at the memorial. Police have searched the nearby river but there was no trace of Hoyt.

"He was super low key, kind, very nice, a very talented guy-very talented artist,” Titus said of her cousin.

"It's all happening, just going through the motions, we're not able to do much but hope for the best,” Titus said.  She said this is not normal behavior for her cousin.

Richmond police said they're still working the case.

Crime expert Steve Neal said that since Hoyt’s disappearance happened a couple of weeks ago, police are probably now researching his background.

"I’m sure police are treating it as a missing person, looking into his background as far as who he associated with, where he was from and if he's spent any money they can trace since disappearing,” Neal said.

Anyone with information is asked to call Detective Rashaan Wigfall at 646-6769 or Crime Stoppers at 780-1000.