BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — The last time Rita Olsen heard from her brother, Charles Prunty, was on her birthday in March.
“We talked for five or ten minutes, laughing and stuff, and he seemed fine,” said Olsen, wiping away a tear before continuing. “And that’s the last time I talked to him, was on my birthday.”
Her brother is a “big teddy bear,” his older sister Lisa said. Very kindhearted, a workaholic before his retirement in December, and not the kind of person to get mixed up in serious trouble — or any trouble, for that matter.
“He would give you the shirt off his back if you needed it, that was the kind of man he was, he’s always been like that, very softhearted.” said Linda Prunty. “One time, a transient wanted some money to eat, he took his wallet out and handed him some money. There’s nothing he wouldn’t do to help somebody, that was just his nature.”
But he’s been missing since April. No one has been able to give the family tips about where the 68-year-old is, despite a statewide Silver Alert from the California Highway Patrol.
“No one has seen him, they haven’t seen him and they haven’t seen his truck,” said Olsen. “And he has a new Ford Ranger, a white 2020 ford ranger, 4-door pickup. No one has seen it. No one has seen him.”
Despite being a familiar face in Oildale and parts of the Kern River Valley for his work as a draftsmen, no one has seen any trace of him. Prunty, 68, was a homebody, but not much of a cook. He preferred to eat out, especially at the Sugar Mill. Employee Delia Picos says he was like family to the staff and it’s “lonely” without him there.
“I want to say April 7 was the last time I saw him,” said Picos. “He was really excited about one of my coworkers’ weddings and he said he was looking forward to that, which was going to be that Sunday.”
Later, Rita Olsen said it was a waitress from the Sugar Mill who called her sister, saying Prunty hadn’t been seen “for a couple of weeks.”
“So my sister went over to his trailer,” said Rita, “[She] got inside his trailer and he wasn’t in there, and his truck was missing. He didn’t leave no note, or nothing.”
The family says a neighbor only heard him starting up his pickup truck, at around 1:30 AM, before leaving his home at Highland Knolls Mobile Estates.
That in itself was odd, according to his sisters.
“He’s usually one who’d come home and go to bed and get up in the morning,” said Olsen. “He’s not one that really stayed out late. Or would go any place late.”
And he isn’t one to take long, spontaneous trips out of town.
“This was really out of sorts for my brother, this was nothing my brother would do,” Linda said.
Another fear for the family: Prunty has diabetes, and his health has been declining. They don’t believe he has access to medication.
“His health was slowly but surely deteriorating,” said Olsen. “The last time he was seen, he had to hold on to stuff to walk. He was very unsteady on his feet.”
They don’t know what happened to him. They’re pleading with people to help them find answers.
“We love him very much, and we want him home,” said Olsen. “So please, please, if you know where he’s at, contact the Sheriff’s Department and let us know. I’d greatly appreciate it.
Anyone with information on Charles Prunty is urged to call the Kern County Sheriff’s Office as (661) 861-3110. Anonymous tips can also be given to Kern Secret Witness at (661) 322-4040.