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Family holding on to hope that Iowa trucker David Schultz, who was last seen in November, will be found safe

The 53-year-old was last seen picking up a load of livestock from Eagle Grove, Iowa. His truck was found on November 21, 2023, facing away from Sac County, Iowa, where he was supposed to be delivering the load.
David Schultz
David Schultz

It’s unnerving when you can’t get in touch with a loved one. 

That’s what Sarah Schultz was experiencing on November 21, 2023. She placed over 30 phone calls to her husband, David Schultz, that day. But there was no response. 

Fearing the worst, she reported him missing at about 2:30 p.m.

30 minutes later, she got a call from David’s phone.

“And I’m like, ‘Oh, finally. Dave, where are you?’” she said.

Except it wasn’t David on the other side.

“It was a female officer,” Sarah told Dateline. “She said, ‘We found your husband’s truck, and his wallet, and his phone. But he’s not here.’”

For the 70 days since, Sarah has posted about her husband’s disappearance every day on her Facebook account. “I hope to God he’s still alive, but my gut tells me he’s not,” she told Dateline. “I just want him found.” 

David Schultz
David SchultzSarah Schultz

53-year-old David Schultz is a trucker native to Sac County, Iowa. “Livestock hauling is his passion,” Sarah told Dateline. “He’s very proud to be an owner-operator. That’s quite an accomplishment.”

On November 20, 2023, between 10:30 and 11 p.m., David picked up a load of pigs from a hog site in Eagle Grove, Iowa. He was supposed to deliver the livestock back to Sac County that night — a standard delivery, according to his wife. 

Earlier that night, David stopped by his house in Wall Lake for a quick shower. “He was in a hurry — didn’t act strange at all. You know, ‘Love you baby, gotta go.’ And he kissed me, and kissed our grandson goodbye,” Sarah told Dateline. “Our son, Joseph, was in the living room. And he’s like, ‘Dad, what about me?’ And [David’s] like, ‘No time. I gotta go, buddy. I’ll see you tomorrow, though.’” According to Sarah, David ran out the door after that. 

David Schultz with his twin boys
David Schultz with his twin boysSarah Schultz

His family hasn’t seen him since. 

Detective Kathryn Stange from the Sac County Sheriff’s Office told Dateline that David’s truck was located on Union Avenue in Sac County, Iowa, after Sarah reported him missing on November 21. “[The truck] was directly north of an intersection of N14 and D15, which is called 190th street,” she said.

Strangely, the truck was facing away from where David was supposed to be delivering the livestock load that day. “[His truck was found] north of Highway 20,” Det. Stange said. “Where David was scheduled to drop off his hogs was directly south of Highway 20.”

Throughout the course of the investigation, the Sac County Sheriff’s Office — with the help of the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation — has conducted searches for David using a patrol plane, drones, ATVs, cadaver dogs, and on-foot searches. Early in the investigation, the department also collaborated with the United Cajun Navy, a non-profit organization focused on disaster relief and search and rescue efforts.

“They’ve been lifesavers,” Sarah told Dateline of the United Cajun Navy. 

Jacob Rowley, the Midwest Team Director for the United Cajun Navy, told Dateline that the organization helped search for David for nearly two weeks. In total, Rowley said, 431 volunteers participated in the searches. 

David Schultz
David SchultzSarah Schultz

Through the help of their volunteers, the organization deployed drones and cadaver dogs of their own. According to Rowley, they stopped searching on December 5, 2023, after running out of areas that “would make sense” for them to search. “At any point, if I can get any little piece of any piece of information, like, our volunteers are ready to go again — like, instantly,” he told Dateline.  

Although they were unsuccessful in finding David, they were able to find the body of another missing person in the area — Mark Riesburg — southwest of Jolley, Iowa. “That volunteer search party wouldn’t have been happening if it wasn’t for David’s case,” Rowley said.

Sarah Schultz told Dateline that she was thankful that the United Cajun Navy was able to find Mark. “If anything good came out of this is, they found him at least,” she said. Sarah told Dateline that the Riesburg family has been extremely supportive to her. One of Mark’s sisters is a member of the American Legion. “They bought the boys bicycles for Christmas,” Sarah said. “So we got to hug her.”

According to Det. Stange, the Sac County Sheriff’s Department is still investigating David’s disappearance. “Right now, we are — we’re conducting a full investigation,” she told Dateline. “We can’t rule out any possibilities of what may have happened to Mr. Schultz, so, therefore, we cannot rule out foul play.”

Sarah, on the other hand, has no doubt in her mind that foul play was involved in her husband’s disappearance. “None of it makes sense. He didn’t leave his family,” she told Dateline. “He wouldn’t leave his boys.” 

Sarah and David share four children. Two grown children are Sarah’s from previous relationships, and the other two are 10-year-old twins she had with David. “He’s such a good role model,” she said. “He teaches them values and makes sure they hold the door [for women].”

David Schultz and his family
David Schultz and his familySarah Schultz

Sarah told Dateline that since their father went missing, the twins have stayed strong. “They’ve seen me cry, and they will come hug me and tell me everything’s OK,” she said. “I think, you know, to them, their dad’s Superman. And they don’t think anyone could hurt him, you know. It’s just, unfortunately, not the case.”

David's yellow Peterbilt truck
David's yellow Peterbilt truckSarah Schultz

Sarah also said that David had been fixing up a yellow Peterbilt truck before he went missing — a passion project that he would not just suddenly give up on. “He only just needed headlights on it to get it going. So he — and this is the truck of his dreams,” she said. “Like, he is so excited to drive this truck. And he never got the chance to.”

More than two months after David’s disappearance, Sarah is trying to hold on to what little hope she can. “I wait for him to walk through [the door], but realistically, the chances — the chances aren’t good that he’s alive,” she told Dateline.

David is 5’10’’ and weighs about 160 lbs. He has brown hair and brown eyes. 

The Sac County Sheriff’s Office told Dateline that the Sac County Board of Supervisors recently approved a reward of up to $25,000 for any information leading to the whereabouts or discovery of David Schultz. 

Anyone with information regarding David’s disappearance is asked to contact the Sac County Sheriff's Office Communications Center at (712) 662-7127.

Editor's note: This article has been updated to include additional information about the reward.

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