The body of a missing California man, Rudy Ray Rockett Sr., has been found in Cattaraugus County, his son said Sunday, hours after authorities called to tell him the news.
Rudy Ray Rockett Jr., who lives in Ponca City, Okla., said his father's body was found near a park frequented by his stepbrother, Gregory Roy, 29. A source in Cattaraugus County indicated the site was off Traffic Street in or near the East Otto State Forest.
Niagara County Sheriff James Voutour, whose agency has been at the center of the investigation, refused to elaborate on the discovery Sunday. On Twitter, Voutour confirmed a body was found overnight in East Otto and taken to Erie County Medical Center for an autopsy, but he said he would not comment until it was confirmed as the body of Rudy Rockett Sr.
The victim's stepson, Roy, was supposed to have driven his stepfather from his Niagara County vacation home to the airport April 29. His wife reported Rockett missing when he did not text her to say he was back in California. Roy has been held for several days in the Niagara County Jail on a weapons charge. Prosecutors last week sought a DNA sample from him, while his defense attorney asked the court to order a psychiatric competency examination of Roy.
"They didn't give me a lot of information," Rudy Rockett Jr. said of the brief phone call that Niagara County authorities made to his home at about 4 a.m. Sunday, Oklahoma time. But he said a weight has been lifted off his chest. The news that he suspected would arrive did so, and now he can begin making funeral arrangements.
Rudy Ray Rockett Sr. was 64, working as an analyst for Chevron and residing in Redondo Beach, Calif., when he went missing. He had made a trip to Niagara County to visit his vacation home near Lake Ontario and to see his wife, who was there caring for her son, Roy. Rockett Sr. and his current wife, who is from the Buffalo area, had bought a vacation house for their visits here.
Rudy Rockett Jr. said authorities have amassed evidence indicating his stepbrother's involvement in the death. For example, investigators confiscated Roy's car, which had blood on the passenger-side door. Two law enforcement sources confirmed that the car had been seized and that "evidence" had been found in it. Law enforcement authorities also told him they found his father's ring, an anniversary gift from his wife, in Roy's room at the vacation house.
With his father missing, Rockett Jr. in recent days posted family photos on his Facebook page. He thanked friends and family for their "prayers and good wishes," and he praised the deputies involved in the search, which had moved to Zoar Valley and Cattaraugus County.
"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."