Authorities looking for missing Modesto man, 91

May 20, 2013 

Amos McElvaine, seen in a 2005 photo, is missing. (Debbie Noda, The Modesto Bee)

  • ABOUT THE REPORTER
    Erin Tracy
    Title: Breaking news reporter
    Coverage areas: Breaking news, crime
    Bio: Erin Tracy started working for The Bee in September 2010. She has a journalism degree from Humboldt State University and previously worked at the Daily Democrat in Woodland and the Times-Standard in Eureka.
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— Authorities are searching for a 91-year-old Modesto man who has been missing a week. Amos McElvaine was last seen by family May 14 at 5 a.m., according to the Stanislaus County sheriff's office.

He is described as black, with gray hair and brown eyes. He is 5-foot-5 and weighs about 225 pounds.

He might be driving a red 1999 Ford Ranger pickup bearing California license plate 5Z13221. The hood and the fender are primer black because it was being repaired after a recent accident, according to family.

McElvaine has lived in west Modesto for 50 years and was active in bringing sewer services to the Robertson Road neighborhood. He is a 55-year member of the Laborers' International Union and though retired from construction work has remained active in labor work, attending meetings and rallies, said friend Bill Bowker.

McElvaine's grandson Antoine McElvaine has been staying with him for the past month while attending school in Modesto to become a truck driver. Antoine said he last saw his grandfather when leaving for school at 5 a.m. May 14. He said a neighbor saw his grandfather leave in his truck around 10 a.m.

McElvaine was active and self-sufficient, his grandson said. He'd go to the hardware store, insisted on paying all his bills in person and enjoyed eating breakfast at the Perko's Cafe on Carpenter Road.

But Antoine McElvaine said there have been signs the past year that Amos' mental health is deteriorating. During two trips to the Bay Area, he became lost and Antoine had to pick him up. Since then, the Army veteran of World War II hasn't traveled out of town other than a monthly trip to his wife's grave at the San Joaquin Valley National Cemetery in Gustine.

Even though Amos McElvaine went there a week before his disappearance, Antoine thinks he might not have remembered. Around the same time, he talked about his wife as if she were still alive, expressing concern that she wouldn't get out of bed, Antoine said.

"I am trying to stay positive and not think the worst," he said. "Whenever I drive, I am looking for his red truck. I am just racking my brain trying to figure it out."

Amos McElvaine has been entered into the nationwide database as a reported missing person. Investigators ask anyone with information about his whereabouts to call community service officer Dorothy Gonzales at (209) 525-7076.

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