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Missing man's son hopes for miracle, but prepares for worst

Rudy Ray Rockett Jr. is praying for a miracle, but he knows the chances are slim.

From what Rockett said he's been told by investigators, it's increasingly likely that his father, who hasn't been seen since Sunday, was the victim of a homicide.

Rudy Ray Rockett Sr., 64, was supposed to get on a flight back to California from Buffalo on Sunday after a quick visit to his vacation house off Lake Ontario. He never made it.

Now, Rockett's stepson, Gregory Roy, is being held on a weapons charge on $150,000 bond and authorities from Niagara and Erie counties were searching for the missing man in the Zoar Valley area for a fourth day on Friday.

Law enforcement authorities in Western New York told him they found his father's ring, an anniversary gift from his wife, in Roy's room at the vacation house, Rockett Jr. said in a phone interview from Ponca City, Okla., where he lives. He also said investigators confiscated Roy's car which had "quite a bit of blood on the side door, on the passenger side." Two law enforcement sources confirmed that the car had been seized and that "evidence" had been found in it.

Rudy Ray Rockett, 64, was last seen at about 4 p.m. Sunday in the Ransomville area. (Photo courtesy of the Niagara County Sheriff's Office)

Rockett Jr. said it's his understanding that Roy, who is Rockett Sr.'s current wife's son, was supposed to drive his stepdad to the airport on Sunday.

"I will take a miracle in a heartbeat," Rocket Jr. "But at this point, I'm just trying to support my family."

Roy had a preliminary hearing Friday in Porter Town Court on the second-degree criminal possession of a weapon charge. His defense attorney asked the court to order a psychiatric competency examination of Roy. The Niagara County District Attorney's Office declined to comment on whether the charge is connected to the disappearance of Roy's stepfather.

Rockett Sr., an analyst for Chevron, lives in Redondo Beach in Southern California, his son said, but is originally from Oklahoma. His current wife is from the Buffalo area and the couple bought the vacation house in Ransomville for their visits here.

According to Rockett Jr., his father's wife had recently gone back to Ransomville to take care of her son, Gregory Roy. In the meantime, Rockett Sr. had traveled to Singapore on business. He had just returned to the U.S. when he came to visit his wife and stepson at the cottage.

Roy was supposed to drive his stepdad to the airport on Sunday for a 6:30 p.m. flight back to California, something he has often been called upon to do, Rockett Jr. said.

After Rockett Sr. failed to text his wife that he had made it home to California, she called the authorities. On Tuesday, the Niagara County Sheriff's Office issued a plea for the public's help in locating Rockett Sr. who they said might be in southern Erie County or Cattaraugus County. They also asked for witnesses who saw a dark gray 2006 Saab in the area on Sunday.

Rockett Jr. has posted family photos on his Facebook page. He also thanked friends and family for their "prayers and good wishes" and praised the law enforcement officers who are searching for his dad. "I pray for their safety as it is rugged country," he wrote.

He shared what he had been told by investigators, but wrote: "I don't want any hate generated by this message."

Instead he wrote about how he and his father had once had their differences:

"That day changed the day my son was born. My father came in the hospital looking very uncomfortable and nervous, I was not sure what to think of him being there. Soon he was holding his namesake Rudy Rockett III and all the discomfort dissolved into pure joy and love.... To those out there that have anger and hurt with a family member try and make it right. You never know what will happen, you may have to forgive or ask for forgiveness. I will be forever happy for these last 18 years."

Rockett Jr. has acted as the family spokesman, talking with the investigators and keeping his family informed.

"I stayed home a couple of days but I was going crazy," he said. He went back to work Thursday but he has spent much of his time fielding phone calls from reporters and waiting for a phone call he doesn't want to get.

His father did like to camp, so Rockett Jr. said there's a tiny chance maybe he could be alive. "I'm praying for the best, don't get me wrong," he said. "But with the amount of blood ... "

He had one request for people who live near the search area.

"Go look at your land," he asked. "Go check it out. Get more eyes out there."

News staff reporter Thomas J. Prohaska contributed to this story. 

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