Authorities in Beaufort County, South Carolina are asking for the public’s help as they search for a 50-year-old chef who hasn’t been heard from since Halloween.
Michael Cirafesi, 50, of Hilton Head Island, S.C., is chef at the popular Ombra restaurant on Hilton Head. One of the top executive chefs in the Lowcountry, he has been honored as the best chef on the island seven times since 2013 – while Ombra has been named Hilton Head’s top Italian restaurant four times over that same span.
According to the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office (BCSO), Cirafesi hasn’t been heard from in nearly a week and hasn’t been seen in more than a week. While no evidence of foul play has been disclosed, investigators said Cirafesi is considered “endangered” and there is “concern for his safety.”
In a post to the agency’s Facebook page asking for assistance from the public, BCSO reported that Cirafesi “was last seen on Saturday, October 28th, and last spoken to via text around 8:00 p.m. EST on Tuesday, October 31st.”
Cirafesi and his family reside in Hilton Head’s Sea Pines community.
“Deputies located his vehicle at his home; however, Cirafesi may have his cell phone, keys, and wallet on him,” BCSO officials noted in their release. “Cirafesi is considered missing and endangered as there is concern for his safety.”
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News of the search for Cirafesi began spreading on social media Sunday afternoon.
“As regular patrons of his restaurant, Ombra, we are praying for his safe return and for peace for his family during this agonizing time of the unknown,” a message posted to the Facebook page of another local restaurant, Tio’s Latin American Kitchen, noted.
“Praying chef is found safe,” it added.
Another local restaurant, the Olive & Fig Mediterranean Kitchen, noted it was “deeply saddened by the mysterious disappearance” of Cirafesi.
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Anyone who has seen Cirafesi – or has information regarding his whereabouts – is asked to call 9-1-1 or BCSO’s non-emergency dispatch line at 843-524-2777.
Stay tuned to this media outlet for any updates on this developing situation …
ABOUT THE AUTHOR …
Will Folks is the founding editor of the news outlet you are currently reading. Prior to founding FITSNews, he served as press secretary to the governor of South Carolina. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and seven (soon to be eight) children.
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