He lived on Hazel Mountain about 1/2 mile from the old fire tower, a familiar landmark in the county. He lived off the main road in a mobile home, close to the homes of his mother, Eunice Kiser, now 84, and his sister. The youngest of six children, Kiser had two brothers and three sisters.
Kiser worked in Trammel, not far from where he lived. He ran H&G Market, which was owned by his brother Homer.
Before he started running the store, Kiser had been a sheriff's deputy during the administration of sheriff Ed Fleming. He resigned as a deputy, however, before Fleming's term was over, family members said.
He owned property just down the road from where he lived, which he kept a close check on. On that land were another mobile home, in which he had once lived, a large old storage building and several inoperative cars.
Kiser did not have a telephone at the home he was living in near his mother's. He never had his phone service disconnected at his "old place," and continued to use his telephone there, family members noted. But he went by his former residence often to check messages on his answering machine.
Kiser collected many junk cars, and family members said he spent a lot of time working on them, salvaging parts.
So he visited the property often.
And he was headed in that direction when his sister, Mary Jane Phillips, last saw him.
April 26, 1990 fell on a Thursday. Phillips was at her home. Kiser had to pass by her house to get to and from his.
Phillips said it was right at the edge of dark when she heard Kiser's truck go by her home. She looked to see which way he went when he reached the hard top road.
"I was in the bed sick, and I raised up and looked when he went by. He went left-handed toward the old trailer. Anytime he was going to Trammel to his store he always went out and checked on the old place," Phillips said.
When Kiser didn't return home and didn't show up to run his store, his family became worried.
Family members claim that a girlfriend of Kiser's said he had left on a trip to Alexandria. His family says the woman claimed he made the trip to take a load of "hot" cigarettes - cigarettes which had been stolen and he had bought from someone else to sell at retail prices - to his brother Homer's house to store.
Family members say it was that story which first led law enforcement officials to believe Kiser would return home in a few days.
But the story didn't make sense to the family.
His brother Milton said it wouldn't surprise him if Kiser had bought stolen cigarettes to resell. "I said I didn't put it past him a bit. If he could've bought them for $5 a carton and made a couple of dollars on them, I don't put it past him. But he was too smart to take them to Alexandria and burn his profit up taking them all the way up there," Milton Kiser said.
Plus, Milton Kiser continued, his youngest brother had two or three old trailers, other old storage buildings, probably two dozen old vehicles and a number of other places he could have stashed the cigarettes if he wished.
When Rodney Kiser never showed up at his brother's home in Alexandria, the family knew something was wrong.
So they began looking for him.
Three or four days after he went missing, they found his truck, which turned up parked at his old place. Keys to the vehicle, a tan, 1983 Dodge Ram 150 pickup, were in the ignition, and the driver's window was partially rolled down.
Family members also found that strange because, they claim, Rodney Kiser never got out of his vehicle for even a short period of time without locking it.
A small brown case, like a shaving kit, was found under the seat. In the case was Kiser's checkbook, some cash and food stamps from his store deposit and a few other items.
His gun, a .357 Magnum, which his family claims he always kept with him, was missing, however. It has never been found.
Traces of blood were found in a room built on the back of his old mobile home. But it was never determined if the blood belonged to Kiser.
His family isn't even sure what type blood he had. After he disappeared, Kiser's family contacted hospitals and clinics where he had been a patient, trying to determine what his blood type was.
They had no luck, however
Kiser's family members have several different theories about what happened to him. They agree, however, that whatever happened took place at his old trailer.
"I believe he went to that trailer and that somebody was waiting on him. And I believe he was took off in his own vehicle," said Marlene Gullett, Phillips' daughter and Kiser's niece
Gullett, who was just six years younger than Kiser and was close to him growing up, has kept her own case file on his disappearance. The large brown, accordion-type envelope is filled with information she has collected about the case. She also has old newspaper stories and other documents relating to his disappearance.
Anytime someone called with tips about his whereabouts, Gullett grabbed the first thing she found to write on and took down the caller's information. "I've got notes everywhere,
because we just thought any day he'd be found," she noted.
It turned out, however, that he never was.
At the property where Kiser's family believes something could have happened to him, weeds are now waist high, beginning to change from green to brown as colder weather approaches.
After more than a decade, the mobile home is falling apart. The ceiling is falling in and the floor is rotting out. Gullett is still able to point out, however, what is alleged to be small blood stains in the room at the back of the house.
Milton Kiser has paid taxes on the land since his brother went missing, and little has changed about the place since his disappearance.
Rodney Kiser still gets mail at his mother's address. With the exception of service charges, money has never been withdrawn from Kiser's checking and savings accounts.
Each month, bank statements are delivered. Each month, his mother puts them away in a room where more of his belongings are stored, including his personal financial records.
She doesn't open the statements, she tells her children, because "that's Rodney's mail."
Oct. 20 will be Rodney Kiser's 44th birthday. While his family never expects to see him alive again, they say not knowing what happened to him is the hardest part to live with.
"It would put an end if you knew what happened. If you found him, you could at least get peace of mind," Milton Kiser noted.
Rodney Kiser's family has put up a $5,000 reward for verified information about the location of his body, or for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for his disappearance.
Those who may have information about the case should contact Dickenson County Sheriff Bobby Hammons at 276/926-1600 or Virginia State Police First Sgt. Roger M. Owens at 276/762-2112, 1-800-542-8716 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org