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Ray Taliaferro, missing former radio host, found dead

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The body of Ray Taliaferro, a longtime KGO radio talk show host and a pioneer among African American radio personalities in the United States, has been found in Paducah, Kentucky, about a mile from where he was last seen on Nov. 10.

According to Taliaferro’s son Rafael, his father’s body was found on a small tree-lined parcel near Brooks Stadium, a baseball stadium in central Paducah, a city across the Ohio River from Metropolis, Illinois.

Raphael Taliaferro released a statement today, which reads:

“It is with great sadness that the Taliaferro family has to announce the passing of Ray Taliaferro. His body was found in Paducah, Kentucky in a wooded area approximately a mile from where he was last seen. The family appreciates the support and help we received in our search for Ray. This is a devastating ending to our search for him over these past weeks. The family is in the process of working with the police to learn the matters surrounding his death. At this time, we are processing this turn of events and ask for privacy as we work through our loss.”

Paducah Police Sgt. Travis Watson late tonight wouldn’t divulge much information about the death, other than to say his department is working an investigation surrounding a body found in Paducah. Watson did not confirm the body was Taliaferro’s, or what day it was discovered.

A flier previously distributed by the Paducah Police Department stated that Ray Taliaferro, 79, had last been seen Nov. 10 talking with the manager of the Mellow Mushroom pizza restaurant in Paducah. The flier also said Taliaferro may have been experiencing “disorientation and signs of dementia.”

Taliaferro, a proud liberal who hosted his KGO overnight program from 1986 until 2011, also is a former head of the San Francisco chapter of the NAACP. He is credited with the first black talk-show host in a major market radio station (New York City) and was San Francisco’s first black member of the arts commission.

Published reports have stated Taliaferro and his wife were in the Paducah/Metropolis area visiting land in Brookport, Illinois, that his wife had recently inherited.

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