The father of missing Arizona teen Johnathan Croom was in Riddle on Friday to put up fliers about his son.
David Croom of Phoenix said he is desperate for information about why his 18-year-old son never returned from a trip to visit a friend in Seattle.
“He’s just gone. We don’t know what’s happened,” David Croom said. “I’m pretty freaked out. I haven’t had time to do a lot of crying. I have a terrible pain in my chest. I’m not going to be satisfied until I know he’s OK.”
Johnathan Croom was due back last weekend and is believed to have disappeared while returning to attend classes at Mesa Community College. He was last heard from on Saturday, according to the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office.
The sheriff’s office reported the car he had been driving, a 2000 Honda CRV, was found Wednesday, abandoned on Yokum Road in Riddle, not far from Interstate 5.
Sheriff’s spokesman Dwes Hutson said deputies contacted David Croom in Phoenix to tell him the car had been found.
David Croom said he immediately got on a plane and took a taxi to Riddle, where he claimed the car.
Since then, he said he has filed a missing person’s report and has been driving the car around South County trying to find out what happened to his son.
He said the Honda was unlocked. The keys had been removed, but some cash was in the car. The car was in good condition except for damage to a windshield he said had occurred on his son’s trip to Seattle.
David Croom said he believes his son was wearing only a T-shirt and shorts and may have been carrying a rainbow-colored backpack. He is about 6 feet, 1 inch tall, 140 pounds and has brown hair and brown eyes.
He said he can think of no reason his son would have left the highway at Riddle. The car was parked in a residential area.
He said his son also had no reason to delay his return to school, where classes began last week.
“He was supposed to be going home, and it’s a mystery. Even his friends are just very worried. They don’t understand what happened either,” David Croom said.
• Reporter Carisa Cegavske can be reached at 541-957-4213 or firstname.lastname@example.org.