Pickens man still missing

By Bru Nimmons
Staff Reporter

PICKENS — After nearly a week of searching, the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office is still on the lookout for Francis Alward, an 80-year-old Pickens resident with dementia who walked away from his home.

Alward was last seen at his home in the Pumpkintown Highway area of Pickens at around 1 p.m. June 29. According to police, Alward is believed to have left home on foot wearing a dark blue shirt, khaki pants and black shoes. Alward is 5 foot 8 inches and weighs 145 pounds.

Authorities searched the properties along Pumpkintown Highway in the area of Ambler School Road, Log House Road, Wash Lesley Road, Tater Hill Mountain Road, Connelly Road, and Griffin Church Road on June 30.

After being unable to locate Alward during their search of those areas, police asked residents of the Pumpkintown Highway area to check their game cameras and video surveillance for any signs of Alward.

Early in the search, the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office was hesitant to use volunteer searchers in order to preserve scene containment for K9 operatives.

“Many in the community have asked about volunteering to assist with the search and provide needed supplies for the search parties, which is much appreciated,” the sheriff’s office said in a statement released on Facebook. “However, law enforcement and emergency management personnel are working to ensure scene containment while utilizing K9 units.”

However, on Sunday, the sheriff’s office began asking anyone in the area of S.C. Highway 8 north of Pickens to do a thorough search of their property and, in conjunction with Alward’s family, set up an email address for those who wish to help the search at

As of press time Tuesday, the search continued for Alward, with multiple volunteer groups combing the areas around or near where Alward was last seen.

Anyone with information about Alward’s whereabouts is asked to call the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office at (864) 898-5500.