Raymond D. Royall, the former Richmond City councilman who vanished mysteriously last May while boating on Chesapeake Bay, apparently has been living in St. Louis, the Richmond office of the FBI said yesterday.
An FBI spokesman said Royall was last seen in St. Louis on Wednesday, the day after the FBI issued a warrant for his arrest on charges of giving false information in a loan application.
The bureau's Richmond office issued a prepared statement "in response to inquiries from the press" that said Royall "is believed to be alive."
Royall disappeared on May 30 after setting out from a Hampton Roads marina in his 17-foot boat. He had told friends in Richmond he was going to show the boat to a prospective buyer, but reportedly took the vessel out alone.
The boat washed ashore the following day with a damaged hull. Royall's body was not found, but his family later held a funeral service for him.
The case raised interest when the Bank of Virginia foreclosed on Royall's Henrico County auto dealership several days after he disappeared saying the business was in shaky financial condition. The FBI warrant issued last Tuesday charged Royall with making false claims in an application to another Richmond bank, the First and Merchants National, for a $10.229 loan.
The FBI said Royall is believed to be driving a gray 1978 Dodge Magnum with Missouri license plate PG9-036. The FBI's Richmond office declined to release any further information, but a spokesman at the bureau's St. Louis office said Royall had been holding down a regular job under the name Michael David Royall.
According to Missouri vehicle registration records, the car listed by the FBI was registered to a Michael David Royall on Aug. 24, and had been purchased last May from Royall's dealership. Royall listed his address in the application as the 3700 block of Lindell Blvd, near St. Louis University.
A woman who identified herself as the manager of the Lindell Towers East apartment building at 3733 Lindell Blvd. declined to talk to a reporter by telephone and referred all questions to the FBI.
Two of Royall's former associates in Richmond are listed at that address, however. A source familiar with the case in St. Louis said that the FBI yesterday interviewed the two, identified as Rodney Michel, former general manager of Royall's car dealership, and Chuck Roach, a former automobile salesman for Royall.
Neither could be reached for comment.
Law enforcement officials refused to speculate on whether the timing of Royall's apparent disappearance from the St. Louis area last week night indicate that Royall was tipped off about the warrant by someone in Richmond who knew of his whereabouts.
Royall was appointed to the Richmond city council in 1973, but lost his seat in a May 2 election.