Robert Larson missing from Sandy Run home - FOX Carolina 21

Sheriff: Missing soldier in Indiana, "not in immediate danger"

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Robert Larson and his two sons. (Source: Pamela Larson) Robert Larson and his two sons. (Source: Pamela Larson)
The Larson family. (Source: Pamela Larson) The Larson family. (Source: Pamela Larson)
Robert's 2009 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited. (Source: Pamela Larson) Robert's 2009 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited. (Source: Pamela Larson)
Larson's Jeep has a Purple Heart plate with tag number PH5752. (Source: Facebook) Larson's Jeep has a Purple Heart plate with tag number PH5752. (Source: Facebook)
Surveillance photo from Facebook Page of man Pamela Larson thinks is her husband (Source: Help Find Sgt. Robert Larson) Surveillance photo from Facebook Page of man Pamela Larson thinks is her husband (Source: Help Find Sgt. Robert Larson)

The Calhoun County Sheriff's Office has confirmed that a Fort Jackson soldier that has been missing since Oct. 6 has been spotted in Indiana.

Sheriff Thomas Summers says he believes 26-year-old Army Sgt. Robert Larson bought gas at a convenience store in Gary, Indiana on Sunday night.

"We have been looking at numerous angles from the very onset of this investigation", said Summers in a statement. "Some of the information we were pursuing was slow getting to us but has obviously helped us determine that Mr. Larson is not in immediate danger.

Investigators say Larson made purchases in the Columbia area the night he was reported missing and had left the area possibly headed to relatives in the Midwest.

"We utilized every resource we had in our efforts to help locate Mr. Larson. I'm hopeful that he will reunite with his family", Summers continued.

Robert's wife, Pamela Larson, posted a photo on the "Help Find Sgt. Robert Larson" Facebook page of surveillance footage of a man in an Indiana gas station she believed to be her husband.

The local ground search has been suspended in the wake of new information.

Larson hasn't been seen since approximately 7 p.m. on Saturday. Pamela says her husband left their Sandy Run home in his Jeep after working all day on the brakes.

She believes he may have left to blow off some steam after she was "nagging" him to help carry some boxes into the house.

The sergeant suffered a traumatic brain injury when the vehicle he was riding in hit an IED in Iraq during a deployment eight years ago.

In 2005, Larson, a combat engineer, was traveling in an RG-31 military vehicle when it rolled over an improvised explosion device. The vehicle, according to Pamela, was blown in half.

After the explosion, he was transported via medical helicopter and treated for a concussion. However, Robert's brain injury was not discovered until 2009 when he returned home from his second deployment. Doctors also determined that Robert suffers from PTSD. 

"It's like a slow-moving train wreck," said Pamela. "Some days he's great. Someday there's not a problem in the world. Some days you just want to run away but you can't."

Robert hasn't answered his phone or sent Pamela any text messages since he left. She says this long period of being out of contact is abnormal for her husband.

Robert was driving a Black 2009 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited with Smittybilt XRC front and rear fenders, and Smittybilt stickers on windshield and rear windows. It has South Carolina Purple Heart license plates. The tag number is PH5752.

Pamela was initially worried her husband may have gone off-road driving after dark on Saturday. "He thinks because he has a 4-wheel drive vehicle that he knows how to drive it in the woods," said Pamela.

Wednesday the Sheriff's Office continued to search the dense woods around the home.

"We've utilized the helicopter and we've done a relatively good search on that but the canopy is real thick," said Summers.

"We've gone through the woods the best that we can." said Summers. "Our vehicles, our four wheel drive vehicles as far as we can go. So now what we're doing, we've just assembled a bunch of four wheelers, and we've got deputies on four wheelers, the little ATV's that can get in tighter areas."

The couple recently moved to the area from Germany and has two boys, aged 3 and 5.

Summers said his office is working closely with Army CID, SLED, and surrounding agencies in an effort to help locate Larson. "We are very concerned about him at this point," said Summers. "This is not like him to not have contacted his family for this period of time."

"Best case scenario, I just heard his wife say, maybe he's just blowing off steam," said Summers. "Maybe he needs some private time. Maybe he's hunkered down somewhere blowing off steam and he'll come home."

If you know anything about Robert Larson's whereabouts, you are urged to call the Calhoun County Sheriff's Department at 803-874-2741.

Pamela has also set up a Facebook page to share information about Robert's disappearance. Click here to visit the page.

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