Phillip Boyd thought he would go crazy.

His every thought was of his wife and little girl. Where were they? What happened to them? He searched for them. He called police nearly every day asking about them.

"I am so sorry I was not there to protect them," he tells himself again and again.

Even now.

It has been 24 years since he last saw Sarah, 32, his sweetheart since the seventh grade, and their 2 1/2-year-old daughter, Kimberly, "Daddy's girl."

On April 3, 1987, the two, along with friend Linda McCord, 31, were driving back to Harleyville from a gospel concert in Walterboro.

They never made it home.

McCord's 1977 Lincoln was found abandoned two days later in Orangeburg County. There were no signs of a struggle and no clues about the trio's whereabouts.

It seems they simply had vanished, never to be heard from again.

Inches-thick files

The Dorchester County Sheriff's Office is still trying to crack the case.

Despite a search by 200 firefighters, police officers and concerned citizens, months of shoe-leather work and a nationwide distribution of the women's photos and descriptions, the case still baffles deputies.

Sheriff L.C. Knight, a SLED agent at the time, helped work the case.

"We still don't know what happened other than they are gone." There is no evidence to suspect foul play, but nothing to rule it out, he said.

Majors Ernest Moultrie and Claude Major helped investigate the case back then. It has stayed with them all these years. Deputies at the time said the case was one of the toughest they had ever worked on.

The Sheriff's Office is taking another look at the case. Deputies are combing through inches-thick files to see if they missed anything. They plan to get in touch with the two families; some members have died since then.

They want information. Call 832-0300 if you have any.

"Somebody has got to know something," Knight said.

Still hoping

Phillip Boyd, 56, has since remarried, and he and his wife have a 12-year-old son. First, he had to have his first wife declared dead.

Still, he prays for his first family every day. Kimberly would be 26 now.

"I wish I could see her again. I wanted to watch her grow up. ... I missed so much," his voice trails off.

"It's the worst thing that ever happened to me -- a loving family vanished into thin air." He wonders if they were abducted, but he has no proof.

He thanks God every day for bringing him through.

His ordeal, though still difficult to talk about, has made him a better man. He lives in Leesburg, Ga., now, working at the Marine base there. His son gives him something to look forward to every day.

"He is a big help to me. We are like brothers."

Reach City Editor Shirley A. Greene at 937-5555.