Real Name: Unknown
Case: Lost Heirs
Location: McCormick, South Carolina
Details: Seventy-three-year-old Walter Rice lived in a small trailer in McCormick, South Carolina. He rarely talked to his neighbors and mostly kept to himself in his final years of life. On January 25, 1992, he took a cab home after his own car was damaged in an accident. Later in 1992, Walter's utilities began to get turned off, and his mail was often returned. In fact, no one knew that Walter Rice had actually died from a heart attack. It would be over a year before this was discovered, when two robbers broke into his house and found Walter's body. Two months later, one of the assailant's girlfriends went to the police and on April 5, 1993, Walter's body was removed.
Probate judge Ronnie Kidd investigated the case and tried to find his relatives. While looking through his trailer, he found that Walter had a small fortune of $140,000, but no known heirs or family members. Kidd could only find some information about Walter. He learned that Walter was born on July 6, 1920, in Abbeyville, South Carolina. He never married, had no children, but had several brothers and sisters. Pay stubs showed that he worked as a cook at a hotel restaurant in Essex, Connecticut, from 1973 to 1983. During this time, he lived virtually without expense in a dorm for hotel employees. Kidd also found that he had a passport with several exotic locations stamped in it. Finally, he found that Walter had visited two hospitals: one in Augusta and another in Abbeyville. At the Augusta hospital, he listed a niece "Jane" as a next-of-kin. However, there are no official records of a "Jane Rice" in South Carolina or Georgia. At the Abbeyville hospital, he listed "James Edwards", but this person is actually a neighbor. None of Walter's heirs could be located.
Extra Notes: The case was featured as a part of the January 26, 1994 episode.
Results: Unresolved. Kidd received several leads as a result of the broadcast; however, none of the "heirs" turned out to be legitimate. In February 1995, three years after Walter's death, all of his money and inheritance was given to the State of South Carolina because no heirs were ever found.
- Judge looks for heirs to claim man's $145,000 estate
- McCormick's Mystery Man
- Walter Rice at Find a Grave