Harold Jeffrey Mays

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Above Images: Mays, circa 1980

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Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance

  • Missing Since: November 13, 1980 from Cape Hatteras, North Carolina
  • Classification: Endangered Missing
  • Date of Birth: July 18, 1959
  • Age: 21 years old
  • Clothing/Jewelry Description: 5'10, 175 pounds
  • Distinguishing Characteristics: Caucasian male. Brown hair, hazel eyes. Mays goes by his middle name, Jeffrey, or the nickname Jeff, and some agencies refer to him as Jeffrey Mays.
  • Clothing/Jewelry Description: Layered clothing and foul-weather fishing gear. No jewelry.
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    Details of Disappearance

    Mays was last seen sixteen miles off the coast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina at 1:30 p.m. on November 13, 1980. He was with a companion, Ted Wall, a close friend and fellow commercial fisherman. Another fisherman stated he helped Mays and Wall repair and restart their 280-horsepower Volvo engine. They have never been heard from again.

    The men went out in the ocean in Mays's 23-foot inboard-outboard Sea-Ox commercial fishing boat. A photo of a similar boat is posted below this case summary. It has a fiberglass center console, black outriggers and beige sides. The boat's registration number was NC9304 AK and the manufacturer's number was XNA30250M79J. It is very difficult to sink; it has foam flotation that would keep it just beneath the surface, even if it's swamped.

    The search for the men began at 9:00 p.m. and lasted for two weeks. No sign of either the boat or the missing men was ever found, in spite of an extensive search by the Coast Guard covering 104,000 square miles of ocean.

    Mays graduated from Ligonier High School in 1977 and attended East Carolina University in Greenville, but he quit before graduation and went to work for his father's fishing business, Nunemakers Retail. His family believes he is deceased, but his best friend thinks he may still be alive and living in Alaska. Both his friend and his family agree that the men's disappearances were most likely drug-related; fishermen often sold drugs in the winter when business was slack. No one has been charged in their cases, however.

    Mays's mother self-published a book about her son's disappearance, titled Outer Banks Piracy: Where is My Son Jeffrey?

    Sea Ox
    Above: Sea Ox fishing boat

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    Investigating Agency
    If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
    United States Coast Guard
    Cape Hatteras Station
    252-441-0300

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    Source Information
    The Doe Network
    Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and Greensburg Tribune-Review
    NamUs
    Texas EquuSearch

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    Updated 4 times since October 12, 2004.

    Last updated September 16, 2016; date of birth added.

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