BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) — It’s a mystery that has haunted this family for nearly 5 years – what happened to Travis Summers?
“Travis was one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet. He was really friendly. He would do anything for anybody,” said Michelle Summers-Witt who is Travis’ older sister. “He always wanted to tag along wherever I went most of the time, when we were little, but he was a good little brother.”
The last time Michelle talked to her little brother Travis was the day before he went missing. “I spent about an hour on the phone with him. I was actually trying to get him to visit me in Virginia.”
But that trip would never happen. “I never hung up the phone without saying ‘I love you,’ so I know the last thing I said to him was ‘I love you.'”
Police said Travis was last seen at the One Stop convenience store on Eisenhower Drive in Beckley Wednesday May 7, 2014. Surveillance video shows him inside the store with another man. It’s the last place police can confirm Travis was alive.
“When he didn’t call mom and nobody heard from him on Mother’s Day, there was definitely something wrong,” Michelle said.
Days turned to weeks, and still no word from Travis – until a shocking discovery 9 months later.
Detective Morgan Bragg with the Beckley Police Department, who’s is the lead investigator on this case, said a group of people were walking through a remote field along Upper Sandlick Road in the Eccles area of Raleigh County when they found a body dismembered.
“This case was particularly different in a certain way in that the effort that was put into hiding his body and destroying his remains,” Bragg said.
It’s a job Bragg said he does not think one person could do alone. The remains were unidentifiable and had to be sent to the Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C. for identification.
“I don’t think they ever intended or thought we would have found the body- without a resource like the Smithsonian Institute, I am not sure that we would but we have the resources to do that and I don’t think they expected that,” Bragg said.
Police said they believe this crime is connected to drugs and they have interviewed several suspects in this case.
Exactly a year to the day Travis went missing, his family found out the remains found were of Travis. “Sadness, we all kind of expected it but this was just confirmation he was never coming back. Travis was only 44, he still had a lot of years to spend with us,” Michelle said.
Travis also left behind a daughter who’s nickname is Happy. She was 11 when he went missing.
“It’s been 4.5 years now and it’s still horrible. It doesn’t get better. You move on but it doesn’t get better. We still miss Travis. We still wish Travis was here,” Michelle said.
To this day, Travis’ family is pleading for someone to come forward and answer- who killed Travis and why? “Even finding them will not keep Travis back, but at least it will keep this from happening to someone else’s family.”
If you have any information on Travis’ murder, you are asked to call detectives with the Beckley Police Department at (304) 256-1720 or Crime Stoppers of Southern West Virginia at (304) 255-STOP.