Friends search for missing father: 'It's completely baffling to us'
PORTLAND, Ore. - Friends and family crisscrossed North Portland on Wednesday morning handing out fliers in an attempt to find a father last seen several days ago.
The last his family heard from him, Matthew McConnell-Hegland, 29, was at the Twilight Room bar in North Portland on Friday night into early Saturday morning.
Around 2 a.m. on Saturday, McConnell-Hegland texted his wife Ricci to say everything was fine and that he was staying at a friend's apartment in North Portland, she said. He never returned home the next morning.
Matthew's friends said he wasn't in the apartment when they woke up, Ricci said.
Detectives have started an investigation and think Matthew may be suffering from some kind of mental health crisis.
On Christmas morning, without their father, Ricci said she wasn't even sure if she wanted to open any presents with their four children. The kids have been asking where dad is, and Ricci can only tell them he is at work.
"It's hard not being able to just sit down, talk about our days and things like that," Ricci said.
Ricci let the children open some presents, but is saving the rest for when Matthew returns.
"You want to be able to tell them that you know he's coming home," she said. "But I can't tell them that and then worst comes to worst. And I can't tell them he's not coming home so he does come home."
Ricci said her and her family and taking the ordeal "day by day."
She said his bank accounts haven't had any activity and he doesn't have a car. It's as if he simply vanished. The couple had been attending church regularly and weren't having any other problems, Ricci said.
On Wednesday morning, friends combed North Portland with fliers about Matthew's disappearance.
"It's completely baffling to us," said sister-in-law Amy Gilkey. "To not come home for his wife and kids especially is the part that's the most unusual. He's never done anything like this before."
Erica Martinez also volunteered her time to drop into Portland businesses and ask to put up the missing person flier.
"A wife, four kids, it's Christmas time; what happened?" Martinez wondered. "I can't imagine being those kids. It's Christmas time and not knowing where your dad is."
Matthew is about six feet tall and 180 pounds with brown hair and light facial hair. He was last seen wearing beige pants, a green polo and a black jacket, police said.
If you see Matthew, police ask you to call 911. If you have non-emergency information, you can call Detective Anthony Merrill at (503) 823-4033.
KATU News reporters Dan Cassuto, Bob Heye and Lincoln Graves and KATU.com producer John Tierney contributed to this story.