Second search party gathers in effort to find missing Durham man

Family and friends scoured a one-mile radius in their search for 71-year-old Kent Hinkson.
Family and friends of a missing Durham man came together Thursday for a second search party.

For two hours, the group scoured a one-mile radius of the Mews Apartments in south Durham in their search for 71-year-old Kent Hinkson.

Hinkson's family told ABC11 that someone spotted Hinkson's red Hyundai Sonata in a parking lot at the apartment complex. The vehicle was located Wednesday night in the 1800 block of Williamsburg Road. The location is about five miles from his home.

Hinkson's youngest son, Paul, said the area does not hold any significance with his family and does not know why his father's car would be there.

He said it is also one more twist to the case because on Monday when Kent went missing, they traced his cell phone with Verizon and it last registered with a cell tower near Bennett Place Historic Site; Paul said his father volunteers there at the Civil War Museum several times a week.

"They were closed on Monday so it didn't really make sense for him to be there on Monday," he went on to explain. "His phone is in one area and across town is his car and he is nowhere to be found in any of it -- a little bit, a little bit scary."

Hinkson's friends and family formed their first search party Wednesday in his Woodcroft neighborhood. His wife reported him missing Monday evening.

Jeline Hinkson explained her husband, who does not have any known cognitive impairments, vanished without a trace.

He took their car to run errands around 3 p.m. Monday. She said he was going to the Wells Fargo, Rite Aid, and the grocery store to pick up some lettuce for their dinner they had planned with friends that night.

Jeline said she knows Kent made a deposit at the bank but doesn't know what happened from there.

Jeline called 911 around 6:30 p.m. Monday. She said it has been difficult not to assume the worst.

"My gut feeling is that someone has taken advantage of him and overwhelmed him," she said. "If he could come back here, he would be here with us today."

Hinkson's family said he was currently serving as a priest of pastoral care at All Saints Church in Durham. Before moving to the Triangle nine years ago, Hinkson had served 40 years as a Presbyterian pastor in Florida.

His family doesn't know of anyone who would want to cause him harm. On Tuesday night, they held a vigil at All Saints Church where more than 100 people turned out to pray for his safe return.

"He loved his grandchildren," said Jeline. "He would just look at me sometimes and say, 'I just love my grandchildren so much!'"

Wednesday was Kent and Jeline's 48th wedding anniversary. Jeline said they had planned to celebrate it with their daughter and her family. Instead, Kent's family is desperately searching for any sign of where he may be.

Kent Hinkson is described as a white male, 5 feet 8 inches tall with a medium build. He has blue eyes, gray hair, a gray mustache and goatee. He wears prescription glasses and may also be wearing a black leather hat.

A prayer vigil will be held Friday night for Hinkson. The exact location has not yet been announced.

Anyone with information on his whereabouts is asked to call Investigator M. Richards at (919) 560-4440, ext. 29335 or the main police desk at (919) 560-4427.

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