“You never think it’s ever gonna happen -- and especially when they get to be 35 years old,” Lonnie Goodrich told Dateline. “Nobody ever says, ‘Hey, someday my kid will be on a milk carton,’ you know?”
Lonnie’s son, Tyler Goodrich -- a 35-year-old veteran and father of two who worked at the Nebraska Department of Corrections — vanished from his home in Lincoln, Nebraska on November 3, 2023.
And nearly two months later, his loved ones are still desperate for answers.
Tyler Goodrich comes from a big family: three sisters and a younger brother. He was raised in Bennet, Nebraska -- moving there at just 2 years old.
Lonnie, who is a retired school teacher, told Dateline a story that he says exemplifies who his son is as a person. “When he was in elementary, our cooks always provided cookies to the kids at lunchtime. So Tyler came home one weekend... and said, ‘Dad, the cooks make us cookies every day. Can we make cookies for the cooks?’” he said. “So we made cookies so Tyler could take them to the cooks just to repay them for their kindness.”
“He was just a good person. I would say he was always a champion of the underdog,” Lonnie said.
As an adult, Tyler moved to nearby Lincoln, about a 20 minute drive from Bennet, where his family still resides.
“He persevered through everything. He pushed himself. He believed, I think, in excellence. He strove to be his best at things,” Lonnie said. “He wanted to get his master’s degree, got it in 14 weeks and four days -- talk about driven,” the proud father recounted. “He always told me he was going to be warden,” Lonnie said. “He said, ‘I will end up being warden someday.’ So maybe that truly was his ultimate goal.”
Dateline spoke with one of Tyler’s friends, Rachel Barth. “Tyler and I have been friends since kindergarten,” she said. “Tyler was one of those people that just made friends easily.”
According to Rachel, Tyler was extremely active and loved being outdoors. “He is really into running. So he’s a marathoner -- I would say decorated marathoner,” Rachel said. “He, you know, took good care of himself.”
About eight years ago, Tyler met Marshall Vogel. “We met at a bar here in Lincoln, a gay bar. And I remember walking by him, and he was just standing there. We made eye contact,” Marshall told Dateline. “That was it for us.”
“Tyler is a very driven person. He is very strong willed, and if he set his mind to something, he was going to do it no matter what it is,” Marshall said.
The pair fell in love and, about two years after meeting in that bar, got married.
“I always knew that I wanted kids and Tyler did, too,” Marshall told Dateline. “We were going to adopt a younger child -- foster to adopt.”
But before their license was approved, Marshall said they got a call from the agency. “[They] said, ‘We have a 14-year-old that can be there in three hours,’” Marshall remembered.
Tyler and Marshall talked it over and agreed to foster the boy. It just felt right.
Marshall said they then began the adoption process about two years ago. And then they got another call. “Our youngest came to live with us before the [first] adoption was final,” Marshall said, adding that their children are half siblings. The adoption for their youngest child was finalized in April. “He was an addition to the family that we didn’t know we needed.”
“Adopting those two boys -- he loves those boys,” Lonnie Goodrich said of his son. “He was big on family.” In fact, the last time father and son saw each other was at a big family gathering just before Halloween. “We always would do a pre-Halloween so the grandkids could come in costume and we’d get to see them,” he told Dateline. “I’d spoken with him, you know, on the phone and text, but I think that’s the last -- I think that’s the last time I had seen him.”
According to Lonnie, nothing seemed unusual with the way his son was acting during that Halloween party.
Then came Friday, November 3, 2023.
After spending the day at work in Omaha, Tyler went to Costco to pick up pizza for dinner for the family.
Marshall Vogel told Dateline that he and Tyler were discussing their relationship that night. “Things were tough. We -- we both knew that we loved each other very much. It was just maybe our -- maybe our marriage wasn’t supposed to be forever,” he said. “We talked about what a perfect night would be. And so Tyler said, ‘A movie night with our kids and pizza and just hanging out.’ And so that’s what we did.” Marshall and Tyler's eldest son was at work that night, so it ended up being just the couple and their youngest son.
Marshall said he and Tyler wound up getting into an argument. “I ended up calling 911,” he said. “When I was on the phone with 911, Tyler left out of the garage.”
He hasn’t been seen since.
Dateline spoke with Investigator Jeremy Schwarz of the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office, who confirmed that authorities were called to Tyler and Marshall’s residence that evening to respond to a domestic disturbance. “A 911 call was placed by Marshall Vogel to the Lincoln Police Department,” he said. “And referenced an argument between he and his spouse, Tyler.” The call was received at 7:47 p.m. on the evening of November 3, 2023. “We dispatched two patrol deputies to the residence to take a report of a domestic disturbance between Tyler and Marshall,” the investigator detailed. “And as a result of that, those deputies made contact with Marshall.”
Investigator Schwarz told Dateline that they have a recording that Marshall had taken of the argument that night. “It’s an audio recording of an argument, or I would more describe it as a conversation between Tyler and Marshall,” Schwarz said. That audio has not been publicly released.
Authorities were unable to locate Tyler that evening. “When deputies arrived, Tyler was not present at the residence, and the deputies attempted to locate Tyler in and around the property,” Investigator Schwarz said. The two deputies left about half an hour later.
Schwarz told Dateline they later checked into Tyler’s movements to confirm the timeline of events that day. “The folks at Costco were great and they provided us video surveillance of Tyler at Costco, confirming what we already know was he was picking up pizza for his family.” That occurred at about 5:30 p.m. The investigator also noted that Tyler did not seem to be in any distress on the security video from Costco. “He was dressed well and did not look disheveled or unkempt. He was just a dad picking up a pizza and going home,” Schwarz said. “He immediately went home, and that pizza was shared with his family.”
On Saturday, authorities received another call. “Marshall called again to 911 to report that Tyler had not returned home and was last seen the night before when he left the residence,” Investigator Schwarz said. The call came in at 9:35 a.m. on November 4. Tyler was reported to have been wearing gray shorts, a gray partial zip-up running sweatshirt and running shoes the night before. Authorities believe Tyler had both his wallet and cell phone with him when he left his home.
“So Saturday and Sunday, immediately following the report by Marshall, law enforcement works side by side with the family,” Investigator Schwarz said.
Tyler’s father told Dateline that when the family heard that Tyler was missing, they immediately thought it was unusual. According to Lonnie, his son was very connected online and would never go very long without talking to someone. “Tyler couldn’t be off his phone for five minutes,” he said. And there has been zero communication since Friday, November 3. “No mention of him, no -- no sightings, no anything,” Lonnie said.
Lonnie also told Dateline that Tyler has never done this before. Except that once time three decades ago. “When he was little, he did that thing every little kid does, packed a little bag one day and told Daddy he was running away,” Lonnie said. “And of course, he never got out the door.”
Tyler’s friend Rachel agreed that Tyler would never just take off without telling anyone. She told Dateline that on the weekend he disappeared, Tyler had big plans. “He had signed up for a pretty big marathon in Lincoln the weekend he went missing. So he went missing on Friday night and that Sunday was the Good Life Halfsy, which is a really big deal, um, in Lincoln,” Rachel said. “It’s a team event, so I believe there’s three or four other runners, like, on your team. And obviously he didn’t -- he didn’t make it.”
Rachel told Dateline it was unusual because not only did Tyler love to run, but “Tyler didn’t like to like let people down.”
By the evening of Saturday, November 4, most of Tyler’s friends and family had heard that he was missing and began looking for him.
By Sunday morning, the full-blown search efforts began.
“The response was immediate and huge,” Lonnie said. “Those searches continued for weeks and they’ve kind of, well, they definitely have tapered way down because nobody has an idea where to even go search anymore.”
They checked trails Tyler was known to frequent, but no luck. “Nothing. Not a shoe, not a shirt, not a phone, not a -- not anything,” Lonnie said. “Nobody has ever used his credit card or debit card or --. None of that has ever surfaced. There’s nothing.”
“We were trying to connect with law enforcement as well, just so that they knew we were doing this. You know, they were great. They came out and kind of actually showed us how to conduct a search,” Rachel said. “You know, what to do if we found any evidence.”
They also worked with the Lincoln Parks and Rec department, who helped them create a virtual map that marked off which quadrants have been searched in the parks. “When you got done searching a certain area, you could click the link and almost, like, highlight the area you had just walked, that quadrant. And what that did was that helped us show what parts had been searched and then what hadn’t been searched,” Rachel explained. “And then we shared that information with the sheriff’s office so they knew, ‘Hey, we don’t need to cover this portion of Wilderness Park because this group of 100 had just done that.’”
Rachel, who has a background in communications, decided to make a missing persons poster for Tyler. “I just jumped on Canva and made a missing persons poster myself with the very limited details that we had,” she said.
Not long after Rachel created the missing poster, they were printed and being passed out. “We worked with a local sign company. So there’s yard signs everywhere. I mean, we went a lot door to door,” Rachel said. “Handing them out, posting them on companies, you know, anywhere we could.” They’ve heard from people around the country -- as far as San Francisco even -- that Tyler’s poster made it that far. “We have a trucking company in town and they put those posters in every truck for them to have, but also to hand out if they can leave at hubs,” Lonnie added.
Investigator Schwarz confirmed that authorities have pulled out all the stops in the search for Tyler Goodrich. “We used the Nebraska State Patrol, they used their helicopter. So we were able to mutual aid with a partnering agency, and they used their helicopter. We also have access to drones in our agency, so we had used our drones to go up and try to locate Tyler. We had used canines, but all with no success,” he said. “Through searches with the family, searching nearby areas, and through aerial surveillance, we just were not able to locate Tyler.”
He also confirmed that “no personal items have been found” that they believe belong to Tyler.
The authorities also looked into Tyler’s digital footprint. “Our lives are connected in so many ways to the digital world. And so that is one of the first places where we started -- is we started going after Tyler’s digital footprint, and that can be anything and everything from cellular devices to social media to financial records, anything,” Schwarz said. “His digital footprint at this point in time, right now, has gone dark.”
Authorities have released a short clip of security footage from a Blink camera at Tyler and Marshall’s house from the night that Tyler disappeared. “It is the belief that that person on the video is Tyler running from the residence,” Investigator Schwarz said. “Right now, based on everything we know, that person is Tyler.”
“There was a Blink camera that they had in the back of their house -- that Lonnie has seen, I’ve seen, it’s now been public -- of what we believe is Tyler leaving the house,” friend Rachel Barth said. However, Lonnie Goodrich is not confident that the figure on the video is his son. “It’s really grainy video. I mean, we all agreed that we wish it was way more clear of a video,” Rachel offered. “It’s very, very short -- maybe a few seconds of someone leaving the back of the house. And that’s about the extent of the video.”
According to Lonnie, Tyler and Marshall have a big property. “Leaving in that direction would take you towards the barn and the animals,” Lonnie said. “But once you go beyond there, it’s -- it’s terrible.”
He said the terrain is difficult to walk through, especially in the dark. “Essentially to get out of that area, you’d have to cross through those tree lines and they’re not, I mean, I walked them more than once and they’re not ones that you just walk through, because you get caught by the thorny locust trees and the briars,” Lonnie said.
Authorities told Dateline that they have reviewed and analyzed additional security footage from the Blink camera. They also canvassed the area and looked at other residents’ security video from the night of November 3. “The remaining video that we’ve captured does not show Tyler,” Investigator Schwarz said.
In the days following Tyler’s disappearance, law enforcement took other investigative measures, as well. “Interviews were done with family and friends, verifying information, trying to determine if Tyler may have gone out of state, things of that nature,” Investigator Schwarz said. “So we were doing a lot of behind the scenes work in addition to actually going out and trying to physically look for Tyler.” He confirmed that authorities have had “access to [Tyler and Marshall’s] property at various times to check and recheck areas or follow up on tips.”
“They could come and go as they please,” Marshall told Dateline of law enforcement. “We’ve all listened to enough Datelines. And so they could do anything that they needed to -- to figure out where he was, what happened, all of that. And I knew one of the first things they needed to do was rule me out. They were all over the place, and I wouldn’t change any of that.”
Though, Marshall said, he faced plenty of speculation early on. “The beginning of it was really rough and really terrible,” he said. “Everyone -- they always suspect the spouse.” But, Marshall said, “I do know that the Sheriff’s department was just doing their job.”
“There’s a lot of emotions and -- that are driving a lot of what was happening in that first 96 hours. I will tell you, once we were able to work through that situation and talk with Marshall and his attorney, we have had nothing but cooperation,” Investigator Schwarz said. “And that has not changed at all.”
Schwarz also told Dateline that while the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office is the main investigating agency, they have received help from numerous other agencies. “The FBI was also called in and provided a brief on the case to ensure that our investigation has been thorough, we’ve dotted the i’s, crossed the t’s, just making sure that we are not leaving anything left uncovered,” he said.
The support from different areas of Tyler’s life has also been immense. “We contacted the gay community,” Lonnie said. “They told us they would do whatever they could possibly do.”
“He loved working for the Department of Corrections. Like, that was very clear. He loved his job,” Rachel Barth said. “His coworkers have been amazing, helped with a ton of the searches and leading those efforts.”
Tyler’s old military friends have been helping search, as well. “[He] was a veteran and proud of it,” Rachel said. “And, you know, still is really close to the lot of the people he met in the military, which has been apparent throughout the searches.”
“It’s just been incredible to know that he has developed such a far outreaching of supporters for him,” Lonnie Goodrich said. “And it’s been beautiful in that aspect.”
Husband Marshall Vogel told Dateline he is very grateful for all the help in the search for Tyler. “It has been great to see all of the volunteers, all of the friends that Tyler works with, his family, and just, I mean, complete strangers going out and looking for him,” he said. “I’m truly grateful for everything that they have done and the sheriff’s department has done. Tyler knows that I would be here protecting our kids, and it was nice knowing that I could do that and there were people out there helping me.”
The Facebook page “Let’s Find Tyler Goodrich” was created by friends and family and now has nearly 20,000 followers. However, “It’s really hard right now trying to keep social media groups engaged,” Rachel said, so she decided to go broader. “The advice I was given was to try to go on the national scale. And that’s why we contacted you guys, ‘cause at this point we need to just get his name out even more.”
The Lancaster Sheriff’s Office has even done a podcast on Tyler’s case. “I believe that podcast was the idea of Captain Vik, in conjunction with family and friends, wanting to keep the story of Tyler Goodrich alive,” Investigator Schwarz told Dateline. As of now, authorities have no knowledge that “anything criminal has occurred,” he said. “Right now, this case remains an open and active missing persons investigation. We are continuing to take information that is provided to us, and we’re continuing to research information and analyze that data in the hopes that we can find Tyler.” And when they do find Tyler, “then we will determine if any additional investigative measures need to be taken,” Schwarz said. “I read daily people who have been gone a couple of weeks or a couple of months or even a couple of years, and they still surface and they’re alive and well. And I would still like to see that in this case.”
Lonnie told Dateline that, at this point, he does not believe his son is out there alive. “I know him too well. Tyler could never do this to us. He could not do it to his friends, to his coworkers, to his family,” Lonnie said. “My son is dead. He is not missing. His body is missing.”
“I just had a birthday. My wife just had a birthday. Tyler would have never missed those occasions,” Lonnie said. “He wouldn’t have missed Thanksgiving. He wouldn’t miss Christmas Eve. And he will miss it this year.”
“I think most of us believe somebody hurt Tyler,” Rachel Barth said. “We don’t know why. We don’t know if it was a random act.” Lonnie Goodrich agrees. “I believe that someone took his life and I believe they took his life on the 3rd when he didn’t come back home,” he said. “Somebody did it. Somebody knows.”
“This is something that nobody would ever even imagine they were going to experience,” Tyler’s husband, Marshall Vogel, told Dateline. “And so it has been hard because you miss them and you love them.”
At the end of the day, Tyler’s father wants closure for the family. “Two things have to happen: His body has to be recovered or somebody has to confess,” Lonnie Goodrich said. “Somebody has to give out the information that they have so that we can have closure. And I pray for that. I mean, every day, every night, a hundred times a day.”
Tyler is about 6’1” and 185 lbs., with “a runner’s-style body. Pale skin, a lot of freckles, and red hair,” as Rachel described. “That was probably his most striking feature.” He has tattoos and had a red beard at the time of his disappearance.
“We want people to call in and provide tips,” Investigator Schwarz stressed. “What we are looking for are those tips that are tangible, that are timely, that can tell us information that we can act on immediately and go find Tyler.”
If you have any information on Tyler’s whereabouts, please contact the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office at 402-441-6500 or Crime Stoppers at 402-475-3600.