Missing man empties bank account in Tenn.

April 04, 2003|By Kimberly A.C. Wilson | Kimberly A.C. Wilson,SUN STAFF

Relatives of a missing Federal Hill man flew to Memphis, Tenn., last night, after a new videotape showed him emptying his account from a bank machine there.

James Clark Standiford, 33, has been missing since early Tuesday, when someone deliberately set fire to his one-bedroom rental house in the 200 block of E. West St. Since then, police tracked him from Cross Street Market to an industrial area in Tennessee about 900 miles from Baltimore.

Relatives had initially worried that Standiford, who has a torn ligament in his right knee, was abducted. Yesterday, their thoughts turned to the likelihood that the out-of-work telecommunications worker left on his own accord and is eluding efforts to find him.

"We're thinking maybe he had a nervous breakdown," said his father, Dr. William Standiford, as he prepared to fly to Memphis. "It's so out of character for him to just leave."

Jim Standiford has no history of depression, his father said, but his frustration at not finding a job made the past several months "very hard for him."

On Wednesday, Memphis police found his 1990 Honda parked on the city's south side in a bleak nexus of vacant warehouses and railroad tracks.

Witnesses have seen him walking in the area, police told William Standiford.

Last night, Baltimore police stopped searching for the man. Their arson investigation continues, but Standiford is not a suspect, said Detective Donny Moses, a police spokesman.

"We believe he's not under any duress or in any danger," Moses said.

Loved ones kept up their vigil for Standiford at his parents' Roland Park house.

"I just want him to come back safe," said his mother, Betty.

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