Special Report: Missing Lives

Robert Richardson went missing Valentine's Day of 2012.

Posted: Mar 5, 2019 3:43 PM
Updated: Mar 5, 2019 4:07 PM

COTTAGE GROVE, Ore. -- Less than three weeks ago, a family in Cottage Grove was painfully reminded of the disappearance of their father, grandfather and brother.

It was Valentine’s Day of 2012 when 60-year-old Robert Roy Richardson called his daughter and was never heard from again.

KEZI 9 News anchor Matt Templeman sat down with his daughter Kindra Richardson, who said the search for her father is more about a search for closure.

“I carry him in my heart every day," Kindra said.

Kindra’s apartment is littered with reminders of her father, who she said taught her so much and cared greatly for others.

“He taught me values," she said. "He taught me how to laugh sometimes at the craziest of things, and he taught me how to live life and enjoy it.”

It was about 6:30 a.m. when Kindra got a phone call from her father, who wanted her to pick up the keys to his truck and drive it home from the top of Gowdyville Road, about 15 minutes from her home. Kindra offered to drive him to get it, but he said a friend was giving him a ride to Roseburg.

“I said I love you, and he said I love you,” Kindra said. 

It was their last exchange.

Kindra is nearly certain about what happened to her father. When she went to his home to get the keys, she found a lengthy letter.

"'I'm sorry I’m doing this. I really can’t take the pain, and I can’t take the pain, and I can’t start all over again.’ He had just lost his job. He was in substantial pain, and obviously mentally severely depressed," Kindra said.

Kindra knew what the letter was telling her: "His intention was to end his life."

But it was too late to stop him. A gun was missing, and so was his bike. Along with the letter, his belongings were arranged in piles with directions of who got what.

Because his body has never been found, none of them were given closure.

Handmade wooden boxes, the polished table they sit on and a book shelf nearby are all reminders of her father. Among the rest is a record collection Robert left to Kindra. 

He also left behind the truck, which he wanted Kindra to sell to pay for a trip to Disneyland for her and her son and to help her brother launch a beer brewing business. But the truck was never sold, kept in storage for him.

“His pain has ended,” Kindra said.

But theirs has not. It’s been seven years of wondering, a sliver of doubt, and craving closure.

“It’s just us really wanting to have that closure and say we’re definitely moving on at this point,” Kindra said.

Kindra has a plea for others that are hurting and spinning downward.

“If anyone is out there struggling, please reach out to somebody,” she said.

After all, that plea for help may stop others from going through what Kindra and her family are going through.

“Closure for us, or for me, would mean we could put him to rest," Kindra said. "And the trauma over what has happened over the last seven years, I could move forward in a really solid way.”

KEZI 9 News talked to Captain Doug Skaggs with Cottage Grove Police, who said the case of Bob Richardson is not closed. He said when a body is discovered in a neighboring state, they verify it’s not Richardson. But they are always asking for information, hoping just the smallest lead will help them solve the case, and bring closure to the Richardson family.

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