Archived Story

ACPD finds Mayfield dead near U.S. 280

Published 11:40am Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Alexander City police discovered the body of a Tallapoosa County man Monday off the side of U.S. Hwy. 280 after investigating a missing person’s report.

According to ACPD Lt. Jay Turner, the family of Walter Mayfield, 79, reported Mayfield had been missing since Sunday.

“The last the family had heard from him he was in Auburn, which was his normal routine for Sunday morning,” Turner said.

Turner said the family had gone to Mayfield’s house to check on him Monday morning. When they arrived to find Mayfield and his vehicle missing, they notified the police.

After speaking with the family, ACPD detective Michael Howell contacted Verizon Wireless to assist with the search.

“Verizon was able to provide information on the cell phone tower his phone was pinging off,” Howell said, “I called (Mayfield’s) phone, and Verizon was able to pick up that call and one that was placed an hour prior – both had pinged off the same tower from the same location.”

Verizon reported that Mayfield’s phone was somewhere within 0.54 miles of a tower on Coven Abbett Highway.

Using the GPS coordinates, Howell and ACPD began their search. Around 10:30 a.m., only an hour or so after the missing person report had been filed, authorities located Mayfield inside his black Maxima. The car was obscured from view from the road.

“The car was impossible to see from the road,” Turner said. “I don’t see how we would have stumbled across the vehicle without using his cell phone.”

At this point, the cause of death is not known. Turner said they have sent the body for an autopsy but do not suspect foul play in the case.

Mayfield is the son of the late Dr. Walter Patton Mayfield and Melba (Carlisle) Mayfield. Following a career in journalism and education, Mayfield created two one-man shows for the La Mama Experimental Theater in New York City, which detailed stories about Alexander City. Six of the stories were purchased by National Public Radio and aired on “All Things Considered.”

Memorial messages may be sent to the family at

Radney Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangement. No visiting hours will be held at the request of Mayfield.