Search continues for missing Port Lavaca resident David Willoughby


July 2, 2012 at 2:02 a.m.
Updated July 3, 2012 at 2:03 a.m.

David Willoughby

David Willoughby

The search continues for a Port Lavaca man who was last seen June 26.

David Willoughby, 52, disappeared while preparing to pick up a friend in Rockport, his wife, Charlene Willoughby, said. The two men planned to visit another friend, who was dying of cancer.

He never reached his destination, however, and the last anyone heard from him was a cell phone conversation just after 9 p.m. with his Rockport buddy. Willoughby was driving a white 2012 Honda Civic hybrid.

"The police said it's almost like a UFO came and took him," Charlene Willoughby said. "They can't find his car or any sign of him. He just disappeared."

The Port Lavaca Police Department received the missing persons report at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday and opened the investigation, Lt. Brandon Riedel said. They tried GPS tracing on both the cell phone and vehicle, he said, and searched state Highway 35 from Port Lavaca to the other side of Tivoli.

With assistance from Texas Parks and Wildlife, the Texas Department of Public Safety and the United States Coast Guard, agencies searched canals and bayous with sonar and searched the area by air, but found nothing indicating a vehicle ran off the road or was hidden in brush.

The investigation is ongoing, however, and Riedel urged anyone with information about Willoughby's whereabouts to contact the Port Lavaca Police Department.

Longtime friend Johnnie Graham described Willoughby as a hard-working man who cared for his family. With his job in off-shore gas production, he worked two weeks, then had two weeks at home.

Graham said he feared that his friend, who suffered no medical conditions and had never before disappeared, had either been abducted or driven into the water.

"He's not involved in drugs or anything like that, so that's out of the question," Graham said of the father of two. "He's not a man who would mess around on his wife. Something has happened."

The Willoughbys were slated to leave Monday for a Cancun vacation with friends.

Charlene Willoughby said she was grateful for the support the Port Lavaca community offered her family, explaining that people they didn't even know have asked how they could help.

She said she and her children, 18-year-old Colton Willoughby and 13-year-old Madison Willoughby, are holding out hope that they will locate their dad.

"I just want to find him," she said of the outdoorsman who would give anyone the shirt off his back. "I want him home."



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