Man once thought missing, dead is neitherPublished 9:44pm Friday, August 2, 2013
Wayne Perdue was once a missing person and then assumed dead, but Tuesday he stood in the office at The Advance reading a front-page story about his disappearance that was printed nearly 33 years ago to the day.
Perdue spent Tuesday afternoon in the newspaper office on Main Street searching bound volumes of old newspapers in the hopes of finding the front-page story about him from the July 10, 1980 edition.
The Marietta, Ga. resident said he ran away from home at the age of 14 because he “thought the grass was greener on the other side.”
Perdue came through town this week to visit old haunts while on his return trip from vacation in the Florida panhandle. His hometown had been heavy on his mind.
“It was a good time,” Perdue said of returning home. “I had been thinking about it for a long time.”
It was only his second trip to Atmore since he ran away from home in 1980. He stopped briefly in town once before to sign up for service in the U.S. Army. Since that time Perdue has been married and divorced, has fathered a child and has created a new life away from his hometown. Perdue said he spoke to his parents five or six years ago for the first time since leaving home, and was surprised to find out he was, not only declared missing, but eventually assumed dead.
Perdue’s parents told him that in addition to the story of his disappearance the newspaper had reported finding a body in Sardis Creek and they had assumed it was him.
“I did stupid things down there,” Perdue said of his family and friends’ assumption.
After he left Pace, Perdue said he lived in New Orleans for four or five years before moving to Georgia.
His stops around town included visiting the location of the old Piggly Wiggly near where the Alabama Wing House sits now. Perdue said that was a popular hangout when he was growing up.
“Everybody used to party down there,” he said. “The whole parking lot would be full from one side to the other.”
Perdue left Atmore again Tuesday heading back to Georgia, and once again, his departure is front-page worthy.