Family remains hopeful 24 years after TSU student disappeared

Posted at 9:10 PM, Jul 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-19 00:07:18-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — A Tennessee State University student mysteriously vanished 24 years ago, and his family is still waiting for answers.

Marcus Rutledge was last seen at his apartment on Park Dale Drive in Nashville on June 8, 1998. He was a 23-year-old junior at TSU at the time. He also had a 4-year-old son.

Metro Police said when a friend hadn’t heard from him, she went to his apartment to check on him and found it was empty. His dog was found shut into the bathroom with no food and only the toilet to drink from. Marcus’ family filed a missing person report that same day.

There were no leads in the case until July 1, 1998, when Marcus’ car was found abandoned at the Riverwood Apartments on Cabot Drive in West Nashville, which was 21 miles away from his home. The red 1995 Plymouth Neon with a Michigan license plate PEX755 was towed and processed for evidence. While police said there was no indication of foul play inside the car, it was unknown why the car was parked at that location.

Just days before his disappearance, Marcus had been with his family in Michigan for a Memorial Day gathering, and his father and sister said there was no indication anything was wrong.

“I can’t think of anyone who would want to hurt him,” said Felicia Rutledge, Marcus’ sister. “I miss my brother, he was my best friend.”

Ever since, the case has been cold. No suspects or persons of interest have ever been identified. No other clues or belongings were found. Metro police currently believe foul play was involved. His family still hopes Marcus will be found.

“I don’t pass through an airport without checking out all the faces, and thinking that somewhere I will run into him,” said David Rutledge, Marcus’ father.

Matthew Filter, a detective with the Metro Police Department Cold Case Unit, said the biggest challenge in investigating missing person cases is often lack of evidence.

“In this case, we have his car, but it hasn’t led to any clues as to what may have happened to him,” said Filter.

Filter said tips from the public are critical to helping heat up the investigation.

“It’s often the little details of a person’s life that make a difference,” said Filter. “There’s definitely people around who knew him and could probably shed some light as to his activities around the time he disappeared.”

“If you know something, please say something,” Felicia Rutledge. “I would just really like some kind of closure for myself and my family.”

“We don’t give up hope,” said David Rutledge. “One day maybe we will have a knock on the door and Marcus shows up. It’s our hope.”

Marcus is described as 6 feet tall, 190 pounds with black hair and brown eyes.

If you have any information about Marcus’ disappearance you can call the Metro Police Department Cold Case Unit at 615-862-7803. You can also call Nashville Crime Stoppers at 615-74-CRIME.