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Missing Ray Nathaniel Johnson Jr.
Johnson, circa 2008; Gregory Epperson
Missing Since 09/11/2008
Classification Endangered Missing
Date of Birth Used 10/27/1973 (47)
Age 34 years old
Height and Weight 6'2 - 6'3, 230 - 250 pounds
Distinguishing Characteristics African-American male. Black hair, brown eyes. Johnson's hair was cut in a low fade style at the time of his disappearance.
Details of Disappearance Johnson was last seen in Tulsa, Oklahoma on September 11, 2008. He spoke to his wife on the phone at 11:00 p.m. and said he was going to tow a vehicle with his wrecker and he'd be home soon.
Johnson owned an auto dealership, Straight Up Auto Sales in the 6000 block of north Peoria Avenue. He was last seen at 11:30 p.m., driving the white 2000 Chevrolet Impala he'd just acquired. The vehicle was a former police patrol car and still had police decals, sirens and lights on it.
When Johnson didn't arrive home, his wife went to the dealership and saw the Impala in the locked car lot. The car had a strong odor of bleach. A baseball hat and one of Johnson's bloodstained shoes were in the trunk, which had been cleaned with bleach.
The vehicle was unlocked with the window rolled down; it would be uncharacteristic of Johnson to leave it in that condition. There was no sign of him at the scene.
In July 2015, Gregory Jerome Epperson was arrested and charged with first-degree murder in Johnson's case. A photo of Epperson is posted with this case summary. He is a cousin of Johnson's wife and they went to school together, and he has a criminal record dating back to 1993 for offenses including burglary and auto theft.
One witness, Jarid Taylor, told police that Epperson had held a gun to his head and forced him to help dump a dead body into a creek, and that Epperson said he "got into it with his boy." Blood was found in the vehicle Taylor said was used to transport the body; DNA proved the blood was from a male member of Johnson's family, and it matched the DNA from the blood found in Johnson's own vehicle.
In January 2016, however, three days before the trial was supposed to begin, the charges against Epperson were dropped for lack of evidence.
Johnson has six children. He's described as a workaholic, and it's uncharacteristic of him to leave without warning. Foul play is suspected in his case due to the circumstances involved.
Investigating Agency / Department