BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Miranda Sumerlin and her family are searching for answers after their loved one vanished more than two years ago. Efforts to find Kelvin Lamar Maddox have come up empty.
Sumerlin said the last time someone had heard from him was in February 2021. The Birmingham Police Department website still lists Maddox as missing.
“I think about him every day. Hopefully, we find peace if something was wrong,” Sumerlin said. “We’ve checked hospitals, all the surrounding jails – and it’s no answer.”
Sumerlin is Maddox’s cousin and grew up with him. She said he loved to be silly and goof off.
“Last time I heard from him it was – he was in UAB Highlands Hospital,” Sumerlin said. “He said someone had hit him on 280 and it kept going.”
She said the hit-and-run happened in front of the Race Way gas station on Highway 280 in Shelby County. According to the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, there is no recorded police report of an accident happening there during that time.
“We don’t know what happened. I mean the car kept going,” Sumerlin said. “They took him to the hospital – and they said his leg was, he did hurt leg, but they said he wasn’t bleeding inside and they released him.”
Maddox is known to be homeless and has several cases in the court system. Three cases in Circuit Court were dismissed, including two felony charges. In 2011, he was court-ordered to undergo mental health treatment before it was determined he could withstand trial. In 2020, he plead guilty to making a terrorist threat and was out on probation when he went missing.
“He did like to drink some, but, you know, he would not hurt no one or anything like that,” Sumerlin said. “Even if he’s in jail or in the hospital, he will contact us. But we haven’t heard anything.”
According to the Birmingham Police Department, there is no update on his whereabouts. CBS 42 turned to Crimestoppers for help.
Ken Atkinson is the Program Coordinator for Crimestoppers of Metro Alabama. He said Crimestoppers can reach millions of people – but police must ask them to do so.
“Someone could be homeless, they could also have some kind of mental issues where they don’t realize that there’s people out there looking for them and trying to contact them,” Atkinson said. “Not everyone missing wants to be found.”
Atkinson said for Crimestoppers to share information about a missing person on billboards or across social media, it must first be contacted by a police agency.
He said that many times a missing person could look completely different than the picture they had a year ago, which could also make finding them difficult. Atkinson said social media for Maddox’s family could be very helpful to keep his story alive.
There is also the possibility that Maddox may no longer be alive, and he may be unidentifiable if his remains have been found since his disappearance.
The Jefferson County Coroner’s Office reports finding two people since he went missing with no identity.
Bill Yates is the Jefferson County Chief Deputy Coroner. He said if the descendent already has a known sample in the CODIS database to compare to the appropriate family members who can also provide reference samples, the process could take three to nine months to get results. Yates said the office is expecting DNA analysis results soon for an unidentified person found in December of 2022.
With dental records, Yates said if the family can find dental records that have not been destroyed by the dentist – results could take two to 10 days depending on how good they are and the condition of the remains.
Sumerlin said, more than anything, she just wants closure. She also encourages anyone with any information about Maddox who does not want to speak to authorities to contact her at 205-253-5974.
“I just hope somebody is able to recognize [him] and just say if something happened bad or whatever, we’ll be at peace with it,” Sumerlin said.
According to Sumerlin, Maddox would call her every day, sometimes more than once a day. She said the last phone call she got was when he called her from the hospital.
A UAB spokesperson said the hospital policy for discharge includes getting medications, transportation assistance to a home or shelter (if the patient is willing) and clothing for vulnerable patients. They cannot comment on individual patients due to federal privacy laws.
CBS 42 has made numerous attempts to get more information and an interview with Birmingham Police regarding Maddox and missing people in the city. During one email exchange, a spokesperson said there is not much they can add.
Anyone with information regarding this investigation is asked to call Birmingham Police at 205-254-1764 or Crime Stoppers at 205-254-7777.