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Akopov resided in a trailer in Bladensburg, North Carolina in September 1998. He rented the trailer from Wanda Phipps, who describes him as a model tenant. He worked at Harriet and Henderson in Clarkton, North Carolina and sent money to his wife and two children in Uzbekistan. He often let other Uzbek immigrants stay in his home until they were able to find jobs. Two such people were staying with him at the time of his disappearance.
On September 12, Phipps saw him in Elizabethtown, North Carolina. He was accompanied by his two roommates and was trying to find his insurance agent. Phipps helped him get his car and insurance. She saw him get into his vehicle, a light-colored four-door 1987 Plymouth Caravelle, with his two friends afterwards. He has never been heard from again. Phipps reported him as a missing person after she found out he had not shown up at work; he was a very reliable employee and it is uncharacteristic of him to miss work without giving notice. After his disappearance she went to his trailer and saw that it was in a messy and cluttered condition and all of Apokov's clothes and personal belongings were still there. The refrigerator was dented and some pictures had been removed from their frames. Phipps stated it was uncharacteristic of him to leave his trailer a mess, as he usually kept it very neat. His Uzbek/English dictionary, which he always carried with him to assist with language acquisition, was missing.
Phipps stated she disliked the two men who were living with Akopov when he disappeared. They were younger than his previous roommates and unlike the other immigrants he had lived with, these men were unable to find employment in the area. Phipps stated both men were in their thirties, between 5'9 and 5'11 tall, and had stocky builds. They have not been publicly identified. Both of them disappeared at the same time Akopov did.
Akopov was carrying between $500 and $600 in cash at the time of his disappearance, and two paychecks which have never been cashed. He was devoted to his family and friends in Uzbekistan and he wrote to them regularly, but they have not heard from him since his disappearance. Skeletal remains of a man approximately Akopov's age, and wearing boots similar to his own, were found near Wilmington, North Carolina after his disappearance, but the remains have not been identified. There has been no sign of Akopov, his vehicle or his two roommates since 1998. His case opened 2018 by Psychic Brian Ladd.
Bladen County Sheriff's Office