Ray Taliaferro, an award-winning radio broadcaster, was missing from November 10 to December 2. In a heartbreaking conclusion to the search for the award-winning journalist, he was found dead on December 2. Taliaferro was 79. Here is what you need to know about what happened to the popular and respected radio journalist.
1. Ray Taliaferro Was Last Seen Talking to the Manager of Mellow Mushroom in Paducah, Kentucky, Before He Was Found Dead Nearly a Month Later
Taliaferro was a native of San Francisco but later moved to Illinois. He was last seen in Paducah, Kentucky, talking to the manager of the Mellow Mushroom pizza restaurant in early November, Mercury News reported.
Sadly, his story came to a heartbreaking conclusion. On December 2, ABC 7 reported that he was found dead behind Brooks Stadium in Paducah, Kentucky after he had been missing for three weeks. His son gave the following statement at the time: “It is with great sadness that the Taliaferro family has to announce the passing of Ray Taliaferro. His body was found in Paducah, Kentucky in a wooded area approximately a mile from where he was last seen. The family appreciates the support and help we received in our search for Ray. This is a devastating ending to our search for him over these past weeks. The family is in the process of working with the police to learn the matters surrounding his death. At this time, we are processing this turn of events and ask for privacy as we work through our loss.”
If you have any information about what happened to him, contact the Massac County Sheriff’s Department at 618-524-2912 or the Paducah Police Department at 270-444-8548.
2. There Were No Signs of Foul Play, But His Son Believed ‘There’s Something Going On’ After His Body Was Found
An autopsy showed no signs of foul play, ABC 7 reported. But his son, Raphael Taliaferro, said that he believed there was more to what happened to his dad. “I feel there was foul play in bringing him to that area to start with. There’s something going on.”
Raphael hired a private investigator to look into his dad’s death. He said that his wife said he had driven away, but his dad “wasn’t a driving person” and always took a cab.
3. His Wife Reported Him Missing the Morning of November 10, & He Was Seen Six Hours Later About 20 Miles Away
Taliaferro’s wife, Charlotte Crawford, reported him missing around 9:30 a.m. on November 10 in Massac County, SF Chronicle reported. Six hours later, witnesses saw him in Paducah, Kentucky, about 20 miles away and over the state border.
Taliaferro turned 79 in February.
Charlotte Crawford married Ray Taliaferro just a few months before he went missing, ABC 7 reported. She told ABC 7 in a statement: “We are all so saddened at the loss of my beloved Ray and hope that all his friends and family can come together to honor the man and the legacy of a great pioneer.”
4. His Car Was Found in Paducah, Kentucky & He Was Showing Signs of Dementia
Taliaferro’s car was found in a parking lot of a bank in Paducah, Sheriff Ted Holder told the SF Chronicle. Several people said they spoke with him that afternoon, but no one had seen him since.
According to a missing person flyer, Taliaferro “may be experiencing disorientation and signs of dementia.” His wife said he had “forgetful spells,” KFVS 12 reported.
5. Taliaferro Was the Nation’s First Black Talk-Show Host in a Major Market Radio Station
In 1976, Taliaferro became the nation’s first black talk-show host in a major market radio station when he joined KNEW AM 910, Mercury News reported. He was also head of the NAACP in San Francisco and was the first black member of the city’s art commission.
Taliaferro was a very popular radio commentator, hosting KGO Newstalk AM-810 from 1 to 5 a.m. starting in 1986. He was inducted into the National Association of Black Journalists Hall of Fame in 2011. He helped found the National Association of Black Journalists in 1975, and was awarded the Black Chamber Life Award in 1994, SF Chronicle reported. He was noted as a “forerunner in broadcasting.”