NORTH RIDGEVILLE - A North Ridgeville man has endured many sleepless nights since learning his son has not been seen or heard from for more than a week after partying with friends at a bar in Georgia.
Richard Gaines of Wallace Boulevard said his 18-year-old son, Justin Gaines, has been missing since 1 a.m. Nov. 1, when he was last seen at a bar called Wild Bills. Police have said there are no witnesses of how Justin Gaines left the bar.
Gwinnett County police Cpl. Illana Spellman said there have been reports that Justin Gaines got into an altercation with another patron at the bar. However, details remain sketchy about the altercation because the two friends who were with Justin Gaines that night have refused to cooperate with police requests, Spellman said.
Aside from a cell phone call logged at 1:33 a.m. when Gaines said his son called friends in hopes of getting a ride back to his mother`s home in Snellville, Ga., the Gainesville State College student has vanished without a trace.
"I`m out of my mind," Gaines said Monday. "There`s no normalcy. Once that happens, everything that was going on just goes out the window. It just turns your life upside down."
Police are investigating Justin Gaines` disappearance as a missing person`s case as there has been no evidence of foul play, Spellman said. Media outlets in Georgia are reporting that Equasearch of Texas is joining the search for Justin Gaines.
The muscular, blue-eyed college student has lived in Georgia with his mother, Erika Wilson, stepfather and siblings since moving there more than 10 years ago, his father said. Still, the two have remained close, speaking often and chatting online. Gaines said the last time he talked to his son the conversation was about an upcoming visit home for Christmas. Justin Gaines has extensive family in the Lorain County area.
However, on Nov. 4 all those plans changed as Gaines said he received a phone call telling him his oldest child was missing. Since then, Gaines has logged many hours making phone calls, passing out fliers, trading e-mails and even traveling to Georgia to canvass the area around the bar. But, nothing has turned up to tell him what happened to his son.
"The hardest part is the not knowing," Gaines said. "Nothing makes sense because he wouldn`t just walk away from everything. He`s got a lot going on in his life."
Contact Lisa Roberson at 653-6268 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
How to help
A nationwide fund has been setup through National City Banks to help cover expenses related to the search of Justin Gaines. Anyone wishes to contribute to the Justin Gaines Search Fund should go into any National City branch bank.