Massac County deputies search for missing radio host - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Massac County deputies search for missing radio host

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MASSAC COUNTY, Ill. — Longtime San Francisco radio host Raphael “Ray” Taliaferro went missing earlier this month while visiting southern Illinois.

Taliaferro was last seen November 10 in Massac County and then across the river in Paducah, Kentucky. 

The radio host was the nation’s first black talk-show host for a major market radio station (KNEW AM 910) in 1976.

A decade later, he started hosting the KGO Newstalk AM-810 show.

Massac County Sheriff Ted Holder tells News 3 Taliaferro and his wife of six months currently live in San Francisco, but were looking to move to southern Illinois. 

“They had been at some property she inherited in the Unionville area,” Holder said. “His wife was out of the car looking at the house while Taliaferro stayed inside the vehicle. When she came back around the house, the car and her husband were gone.”

Almost a week later and across the river, Paducah Police found his car outside of Mellow Mushroom, but there was no Taliaferro. 

“Well, it’s possible with the interstate right here that he could have caught a ride away from here and could be on his way back to San Francisco in a car.” Holder said. 

The Massac County Sheriff’s Department believes the last person to see Taliaferro was inside West End Baptist Church on 28th Street in Paducah. 

Holder says Taliaferro walked inside and had a conversation with the church’s music director, Brian Henry. 

Henry told News 3 there was surveillance footage of Taliaferro inside the church talking with him. 

“I figured the man had just moved here, and there is a lot of food traffic up and down this street with the grocery stores and fast food restaurants, so it didn’t seem unusual at that time,” Henry said. 

Henry says Taliaferro introduced himself multiple times and explained his story as a radio host. 

“At that time, I got a phone call at the church and I said I have to take the call,” Henry said. “Mr. Taliaferro said it was very good talking to you and told me to have a good day and then he walked out the back door.”

After Taliaferro left the church, Henry typed his name in on the internet.

“A Google search led me to find out that the gentleman is who he said he was,” Henry said.

More than two weeks after Taliaferro was last seen, police and Henry just hope he is alive and safe. 

“What we are afraid of is there is a a lot of people out there that know Mr. Taliaferro that don’t know he is missing,” Holder said. “Someone may have run into him in the past couple of weeks, but didn’t know he was missing.

“I really pray that he is found alive and safe, and for whatever reason, if it’s a medical condition or a personal condition, I’ll just sleep a little better knowing he’s safe.”

Massac County deputies say Taliaferro has been entered into a missing person’s database.

He was last seen wearing black pants, a black turtleneck and a black leather jacket. 

If you have any information about Taliaferro’s whereabouts, contact your local police or the Massac County Sheriff’s Department at 618-524-2912

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