SYLACAUGA, Ala. (WIAT) — Shep Leonard was last seen in Sylacauga in February of 2011.  Tuesday investigators are putting his case back into the spotlight. They hope to bring closure to a hurting family.

“I just really want to know what happened to my son, you know, one day he’s here and the next day not,” said Mary Malone. “I just, I just couldn’t imagine you know that someone would really want to hurt my son.”

The lead investigator is convinced that something bad happened to Shep Leonard. He’s also convinced that someone in the area could put this case to rest once and for all.   After four years of constant dread, his mother is praying someone will step forward.

“He was a quiet, shy person, but he was really genuine. He had a good heart,” said Malone.

Malone said her son Shep Leonard used to visit her six days a week.  She hasn’t seen him since February 2011 when he stopped by the Sylacauga Walmart where she works.

“He was in another line and he just had that big smile on his face,” said Malone. “And he said don’t forget Sunday, because we’re going to go take the family portrait.”

Three days later his car was found on the side of Highway 280 in Shelby County, according to police.

Investigator Mike Smith with the Sylacauga Police Department said there were no signs of Leonard.

“I don’t think it’s likely he left his car sitting on the side of the road with gas in it at the Walmart in Chelsea,” said Smith.

Sylacauga Police found the groceries and receipt in the 32-year-old’s house.

Investigators said he apparently left, and never got the chance to come back.

“We have theories of possibly what happened,” said Smith. “The last known contact we had was his phone that was around the Talladega area, and that was a text. It said ‘I’m here.’ That’s all we had. “

“He never did show back up. You know and I would call his cell phone, but it would always go to his voicemail,” said Malone.

Police searched different areas, but had no success.

“We received information that he possibly had been in the Tanyard Hill area at a house and we did come down and look around here,” said Smith.

Leonard’s mother and the police believe Shep Leonard’s fate isn’t a mystery to everyone. They are asking those who may have answers to come forward.

“You know… I know somebody knows something,” said Malone. “I know a lot of people know something, but when it comes down to just giving information, you know, I think people just back down. I don’t know why, because my son was a loving person. To me, you know, he had a big heart and he was genuine and he met a lot of people, you know he wasn’t a stranger to nobody.  And for somebody to just really just want to just hurt him, it’s just, why? You know that’s really the only thing is just why?”

Investigators are asking anyone with information to contact the Sylacauga Police Department at 256-245-4334 or their tip line (256) 249-4716.

Copyright 2015 WIAT 42 News