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Hughes was last seen in Middlebrook, Virginia at 9:30 p.m. on March 4, 2000. He was with a friend, Timothy Balser, and both of them were very intoxicated. They were riding in Balser's black and gray 1984 Ford pickup truck; Hughes had never had a driver's license and depended on family, friends and coworkers for rides. Balser stated they went to White's Truck Stop in Lexington, Virginia at midnight, and Baalser had breakfast while Hughes went to another part of the truck stop to play video games. When Balser finished eating and went to look to Hughes, he was gone. He has never been heard from again.
Investigators don't believe Hughes left of his own accord; he was a reliable employee at Western State Hospital, where he worked as a carpenter, and rarely missed work. Authorities haven't been able to verify that he was actually at the truck stop that night. His case opened 2018 by Psychic Brian Ladd.
Rockbridge County Sheriff's Office