A murder charge in the presumed death of a Tulsa man whose body hasn’t been found since he disappeared seven years ago was filed Friday.

Gregory Jerome Epperson, 39, is charged in Tulsa County District Court with first-degree murder in the death of Ray Nathaniel Johnson, who was last seen Sept. 11, 2008.

A warrant has been issued for Epperson’s arrest.

Johnson was a 34-year-old car lot owner when he disappeared. He had been at work that day and called his wife, Adrienne Wherry, that night to say he was going to tow a vehicle with his wrecker and then go home, Wherry told police at the time.

When her husband did not return home by the next morning, Wherry went to look for him at his shop, Straight Up Auto Sales at 6014 N. Peoria Ave., and saw his vehicle in the locked car lot.

He drove a white 2000 Chevrolet Impala, a former police patrol car equipped with lights and sirens that he had not had a chance to remove since he bought the car the day before he disappeared, police said at the time.

The car smelled like bleach, and items in the trunk had blood on them, police reported.

The condition of Johnson’s car and the fact that he was not the type of person who would intentionally disappear were the main reasons police classified him as an endangered missing person, they said at the time.

Detectives recovered DNA evidence from the scene, Tulsa Police Sgt. Dave Walker said. That DNA, combined with witness interviews, was enough to charge Epperson.

Epperson has criminal convictions, as well as deferred and dismissed cases, in Tulsa County District Court dating back to 1993, according to court records. He has pleaded guilty to driving under suspension, second-degree burglary, obstructing an officer and transporting an open container of beer.

Anyone with information about Epperson may contact Crime Stoppers at 918-596-COPS or text TIP918 to CRIMES.

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Arianna Pickard 918-581-8413

arianna.pickard@tulsaworld.com