30 years later: Woman searches for missing brother


LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – A woman seeks closure following the disappearance of her brother 30 years ago.

Robert Villarreal has been missing since May 1989.

Even though it’s been a long time, his sister Linda Wood refuses to stop looking for him.

“It was very hard, especially for my parents,” said Wood. “Both of them passed away without knowing what happened to him.”

Wood says the search for her brother Robert has been not only long, but heartbreaking.

“He was a fun loving guy, he partied with his friends and he worked, and he was just a fun good guy in general,” said Wood.

That was until:

“He just one day disappeared,” said Wood.

That one day was three decades ago.

But instead of giving up, Wood went to Sparrow Hospital in Lansing today to give a DNA sample in hopes of finding her brother.

“I just thought anything that I can do to try to get an answer is worthwhile,” said Wood.

“It is an opportunity for families to come forward and provide information on missing individuals,” said Michelle Fox, the chief investigator with the Office of the Medical Examiner.

Fox, with the Medical Examiner’s office, and Detective Saergent Sarah Krebs with the Michigan State Police, both work to find missing people.

They say events like this are important to give people hope.

“I’m always surprised by how many people this touches, there’s a lot of people that at some point in their life have somebody go missing and they don’t really know where to turn at that point, especially if it goes long term,” said Krebs.

For Linda, it’s about closure. For not only her, but for Robert’s family.

“It just really nags at you in the background and as the years go by, you know it’s not as painful but it’s still there,” said Wood. “He has a son, and two grandchildren, and they don’t know what happened to their grandfather or their father, so even more important for them I think.”

If someone you know is missing, the Michigan State Police encourage you to reach out the Missing Persons Coordination Unit at 313-215-0675 as soon as possible.

It’s as easy as a DNA sample that could potentially change lives.

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