Investigators searched Friday for a former top executive at Sara Lee Corp. (search) who disappeared after he went to meet a couple about buying his sport utility vehicle.

"There's a strong possibility of foul play," sheriff's spokesman Sgt. Shea Smith said Friday.

James Cockman (search), 71, was last seen Tuesday morning when he bought a cup of coffee at a convenience store near a lot where he was to meet the couple, sheriff's officials said.

His wife, Cathy Cockman, said he did not mention the couple's names to her but they paid him a $100 down payment on the SUV and he had gone to collect the remaining $8,400.

When he missed an appointment, she called police and drove to the meeting site, where she found the door of his car ajar, she said.

Investigators at first treated the incident as a missing person case but on Friday were considering the possibility Cockman was abducted.

Cockman became chairman and CEO of Sara Lee's PYA/Monarch division in Greenville in 1985 and later chairman of Sara Lee Foodservice before retiring in 1992.

Friends and family posted a $50,000 reward.