Missing Bartlesville Man Found In South Dakota

Thursday, May 7th 2009, 5:08 pm
By: News On 6

By Lori Fullbright, The News On 6

BARTLESVILLE, OK -- A man who disappeared without a trace in Bartlesville seven years ago has been found, alive and well and living in another state.

When David Rockey disappeared in 2002, police were baffled and his family was devastated.

Police say Rockey called his mother last week from Rapid City, S.D., and told her he was alive and he wanted to come see her for Mother's Day.

They say he went to renew his driver's license and when a check was run on him, the workers realized he was a missing person from Oklahoma.

Rockey was 51 years old, had just retired from Phillips in Bartlesville after decades and was a husband of 26 years and the father of two sons, one starting college and one in high school, when he seemed to drop off the face of the earth.

He told his family he had a job interview in Skiatook that day, but the company had no appointment.

Police found his car at Tulsa's airport and that was it. No other trace of the man described by his wife at the time as kind, reliable and of high character.

"Loving father and wonderful husband," Peggy Rockey said in 2002. "If there was one in a million, he was the one-in-a-million man."

Billboards were hung, flyers posted and a psychic even claimed he was dead and buried.

For 6 1/2 years, his family hasn't known whether he was alive or dead, injured or held against his will.

Now, they know, he simply left.

Police say Rockey told them he was depressed with his life and decided to leave, but rather than tell anyone, he drove to the Tulsa airport, parked his car and got a cab to a bus station and hopped on to Kansas City, where he stayed for a while. He finally ended up in South Dakota, living under the radar, doing odd jobs for cash.

Police say he told them he decided it was time to re-enter society, so he called his mother last week to tell her he was alive and wanted to come see her.

Rockey has committed no crime that police know of, and they say he sounded normal and nice on the phone.

He plans to return to Bartlesville next week for an interview with police and to talk with his family.

Police say his wife's reaction to the news was shock.

He told police he's seen so many interesting things in the past 6 1/2 years, he may write a book.