David Riemens has been missing for almost five months. He vanished from Watertown without a trace. His brother and two sisters visited Wilson County again before Christmas to make sure he is not forgotten as the search continues.
"We've got to keep checking," Jim Riemens said. "We talked to the detective this morning, and he said there was no information coming in."
Riemens, 60, an artist and stone mason from Watertown, disappeared Aug. 8, shortly after noon when he went to meet a man about a job. The Wilson County Sheriff's Department and his friends and family are keeping up the search despite the lack of clues.
The WCSD's Crime Stoppers program is still offering a $1,000 reward for information about his disappearance and his friends in Watertown have offered a private reward, but no clues have been generated.
In the days leading up to Christmas, Jim Riemens and their sisters made a trip to Wilson County from their home in Michigan, but were forced to face the idea that something bad has happened to their brother.
The original theory was that Riemens was asked to look at a job site where he might be hired to do stone work for a construction project. His friends and family suspect that Riemens got into another vehicle at the Watertown Dollar General Store and left with another person or persons. A search dog seemed to confirm that theory when it picked up Riemens' scent in the driver's seat of his vehicle and following it 8 feet away where it faded, leading searchers to think Riemens did get into another vehicle.
But as the months have passed and no one else has been reported missing, hope is fading that Riemans simply got into another vehicle and was in an accident. Now his family is seriously considering the possibility that someone made him disappear.
"At first we thought it must have been an auto accident," Jim Riemens said. "Then you start thinking about foul play."
At this point, the family just wants answers.
"We're now coming up on the third season since he went missing," Jim Riemens said. "We're not even sure he didn't just want to disappear."
He said there has been no indication from anyone in the area that David had a reason to disappear, so that is just another theory that can't be proven one way or another.
"We're just hoping that someone will come forward who knows something that no one else knows about," said Janet Stonework, Riemens' sister.
The family wants everyone to know they have not given up on finding David Riemens.
"We just want to keep the search active," Jim Riemens said. "We're still putting up posters and there's still an active search."
Dr. Donald Nuessle and his wife, Laura are still actively trying to find their friend, who was living in a house on their Watertown property at the time of his disappearance.
Friends and family have a Facebook page "David Riemens is Missing" that is constantly updated about the case and has information about how the public can contribute to the fund set up to aid in the search for Riemens.
If he was in a car accident, his friend thought the changing season might reveal something or hunters in the woods might find some trace of him. That scenario has also proven false since the leaves have been down for a while and no wrecked vehicles have been seen from the road or from the air.
His family voiced the idea that David might be sunning himself on a beach somewhere, but say it is unlikely he would leave his friends in Watertown or his family in the lurch while they worry.
Anyone who saw David Riemens at the Dollar General Store, in a vehicle that day or who has any idea who he was meeting, is asked to call the Wilson County Sheriff's Department at 615-444-1459, Crime Stoppers at 615-444-5245, the Watertown Police Department at 615-237-3326 or a hotline at 615-237-9099. Any bit of information could be the clue that leads to his recovery. Callers to Crime Stoppers will remain anonymous.
Jim Riemens said some people even in Watertown have not heard about David's disappearance.
"We think that everyone should know it by now," he said. "But that's not true."
His brother said anyone who can't or won't call the phone numbers above can reach him via his cellphone at 269-216-1335. Anyone who is reluctant to give their name, can leave a message at that number, no questions asked.
Staff writer Mary Hinds may be reached at 444-3952, ext. 45 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org