The missing person case of a Perkinston man has been upgraded, with authorities believing he may be in danger, a Stone County sheriff’s detective said.
Mississippi Coast Crime Stoppers is now offering a reward for information that helps find 37-year-old Robert “Bruce” Hariel, Stone County Sheriff’s Capt. Ray Boggs said.
Hariel disappeared more than three weeks ago and has no car, Boggs said.
A tip about a week ago led to multiple searches in and around Black Creek in Perry County, where Fairley Bridge Road crosses the river. Neither Hariel nor his remains were found. The area is northeast of Stone County and also is heavily wooded and part of the De Soto National Forest.
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“We have gone from categorizing him from a missing person to possibly in grave danger,” Boggs said.
Hariel was reported missing Jan. 11. He was last seen with a man who investigators have identified but have not charged with a crime.
The man is a person of interest — a witness — but not a suspect, Boggs said.
The man told deputies he last saw Hariel getting out of his car and getting in a dark-colored car with a woman at the Perry County line.
Rumors abound, especially on Facebook, saying the man set later set his car on fire, Boggs said. The man had been working on his vehicle but had left it on Rice Road in Perkinston, where someone noticed it had caught on fire and called for help.
“We have no evidence that he set his car on fire,” Boggs said. “People can say what they want to, but police can only say what the evidence shows.”
Within a couple of weeks, investigators learned Hariel reportedly was last seen at Black Creek.
A dive team from the Petal Fire Department, Perry County deputies and fish and wildlife agents searched for him on land and in the water.
Deputies have followed all leads but no new information is coming in, Boggs said.
“If anyone has seen something, heard something or knows something, please call Crime Stoppers,” he said.
“I really hope that one tip comes through to help us break this case.”
Hariel is 5-foot-9, weighs 170 pounds and has brown hair and hazel eyes.