May 23, 2013 at 10:37 am

Leads elude 2 families struggling to find missing couple

Sharon Murray describes the days without her brother as "like a slow death."

Randall Childs, who was 50 at the time, was last seen about 11:30 p.m. June 7, 2011, rushing from his upper-floor apartment in the 3000 block of Grand River.

His girlfriend of more than a year, Karen Young, was leaving after an argument and made arrangements to have someone pick her up, Murray said. Childs went with her downstairs.

At first, Murray thought her brother and Young might have gone out of town. But he failed to show up for July 4 gatherings or mark Murray's birthday in August. There were no phone calls or messages for the holidays, either, which was unusual.

One of 12 children, he usually kept in contact with his siblings.

"He made sure he called any and everybody, trying to find out what we're going to do," said his brother, Bobby Childs.

Randall Childs had recently lost his job after the Detroit restaurant where he worked closed.

After filing a missing persons report with Detroit police, Murray and her siblings printed hundreds of posters, scoured neighborhoods, searched burned or vacant homes and checked hospitals.

The family eventually turned to Crime Stoppers, which is offering a $1,000 reward for information, as well as gave interviews on local TV and radio. There are plans for a billboard near Grand River and Canfield, within blocks of where Childs was last spotted.

"I can't forget about him. I can't go on living a normal life knowing my brother is out there," Murray said recently, her voice swelling with emotion. Murray called the Wayne County morgue so often, she no longer has to identify herself. And relatives have stopped by many times.

"Any time we hear about an unidentified body, we're there in the hopes it might be him," Bobby Childs said.

Young's family also went searching. "It was just frustrating looking for someone somewhere… and not knowing where to look," said her brother, Alden Ingram.

While leads elude them, both families struggle.

"When we ride past a wooden area, vacant houses, the area where she frequented downtown — you're constantly looking to see what you can see," said Monique Ingram, Karen Young's sister-in-law. "It has changed us in the way we think, the way we drive."

When Murray passes a landfill or an open spot near the freeway, she said, "I'm like: 'Randall, are you there? And if you are, will anybody ever find you?'"

mhicks@detroitnews.com

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