The family of a missing Winston-Salem man searched for him Friday in the city’s northern section, but they didn’t find him.

James Eric Matthews, 37, was reported missing on May 18, police said. Matthews was last seen driving a silver Chevy Tahoe as he left the 3900 block of Talcott Avenue, but officers recovered that vehicle May 30 at Motor Road and Patterson Avenue.

Matthews wasn’t found at that time. Matthew stands 6 feet tall and weighs about 180 pounds, police said.

“The police don’t know where he is,” said Patricia Harris of Hampton, Va. who arrived Thursday in Winston-Salem with her daughter. “That’s why we’re here to try to help find him.”

Investigators learned that Matthews’ credit cards were used May 28 at stores in the Northside Shopping Center, according to the Facebook page Crime Stoppers of Winston-Salem/Forsyth County. Surveillance photos showed a man using the cards.

“That’s not a good sign to me,” Harris said.

Harris described her son as a sweet and fun person who likes to laugh.

She said she normally spoke to her son daily on the phone. Harris last spoke to him on May 16.

“We had a very, very tight relationship,” Harris said.

On May 17, Matthews and his wife attended the funeral of his wife’s uncle, Harris said. Matthews and his wife then returned to Winston-Salem, Harris said.

Matthews and his wife visited his mother in Hampton for Mothers’ Day on May 12. Matthews and his wife have two daughters and a son.

Matthews delivered a sermon at Loving Kindness Kingdom Worship Center in Hampton, Va., where Harris serves as an apostle.

“He preached about forgiveness,” Harris said.

Matthews has many achievements in his life, his mother said. As a student at Hampton High School in Hampton, Va., Matthews played football and soccer and competed on the school’s wrestling team, Harris said.

Matthews enrolled as a student at Greensboro College, but he left school in January 2003 when his Army Reserve unit was called up for active duty in Iraq, the Greensboro News and Record reported in April 2004.

Matthews served a year in Iraq as an Army truck driver in the 991st Transportation Co. based in Salisbury. Matthews later received a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Greensboro College in 2005, Harris said.

“He had to work extremely hard to do that,” Harris said.

Matthews also received a master’s degree in education online from the Cambridge Graduate University International in Cambridge, Mass., Harris said.

Matthews also served as the youth pastor at the Thrive Church in High Point, his mother said.

Before he went missing, Matthews worked as a military service coordinator at the Winston-Salem Regional Office of the Veterans’ Administration, his mother said.

“He was promoted to that position on March 16,” Harris said.

Harris is worried about her son’s fate.

“I’m very nervous at this point,” Harris said. “I do feel that something is not right.”

Anyone with information regarding Matthews’ whereabouts can call Winston-Salem police at 336-773-7700, Crime Stoppers at 336-727-2800 or its Spanish line at 336-728-39045.

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jhinton@wsjournal.com 336-727-7299 @jhintonWSJ

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