Man missing after storm

Published 10:08 pm Monday, October 10, 2016

Of all the devastation wrought by Hurricane Matthew in Suffolk, the hearts of the family of Derek Cason are hurting the worst.

Cason, 53, was last seen about 5 a.m. Sunday on his way to work at McDonald’s at the corner of North Main Street and Constance Road. He was dropped off on the other side of the Kimberly Bridge, which was covered by a Nansemond River swollen to more than five feet above flood stage, and was going to walk the rest of the way.

“He was trying to get to work on time,” said his sister, Delicia Barber. “He’s so dedicated, he would go through sleet and hail.”

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Barber said nobody called to tell her brother McDonald’s was closed due to the storm. His family thought he was working overtime and didn’t know he was missing until about 6 p.m. Sunday.

City spokeswoman Diana Klink said in a press release Monday that Suffolk Police Department and Suffolk Fire & Rescue had been involved in searching in and around the river. A helicopter was part of the effort, she said.

Barber said searchers had reported finding a shoe.

Cason was born and raised in New Jersey and worked at a McDonald’s there for about 15 years before moving to Suffolk. He has been working at this McDonald’s for about three years, she said.

“He’s very easygoing and laid back,” Barber said. “He’s kind and gentle. He never bothers anybody. He’s very quiet. He loved working at McDonald’s.”

Cason is black and 5 feet 10 inches tall, according to the city press release. Barber said her brother weighs 202 pounds. He was wearing a McDonald’s uniform and a green raincoat.

Cason has a diminished mental capacity and a condition that requires medication, the press release stated.

Barber said Cason is the only brother to herself and another sister.

“We want him back safe, even if he’s a little scarred up,” she said. “I know that’s not realistic. We’re just going to keep sending up prayers until we hear differently.”