James “Rick” Larabee has been missing for nearly a decade. The 53-year-old was last seen at his high school reunion on September 28, 2013, in Davis, Oklahoma.
“We mainly grew up in Davis,” Rick’s younger sister, Julie Miller, told Dateline. “It’s a small town.”
But as the siblings got older, Julie said they moved out of Davis and on to their own adventures. According to Julie, by 2013, Rick was living on his own in Denton, Texas, and had five children. “He was divorced,” Julie said.
She told Dateline that two of Rick’s children were older and living independently, while the others lived with their mother. “He liked being with his kids a lot,” Julie said. “He likes being with family.”
Julie said she and Rick only lived a few hours from each other and were very close. “We talked on the phone several times a week,” Julie said.
On September 28, 2013, Rick was back in his hometown of Davis. According to Julie, he was catching up with old buddies. “He likes researching his past and reconnecting with people that he hadn’t seen in a long time,” Julie said. “He’s definitely, like, a people person.”
Julie told Dateline that Rick was attending a high school reunion that Saturday. “My brother went to class reunions every year,” Julie said. “They have an alumni banquet every year. It doesn’t have to be your 10th or 15th. It doesn’t matter. They just have a party.”
According to Julie, that was the last time anyone saw Rick.
Missing in Oklahoma: James “Rick” Larabee
- Rick was last seen on September 28, 2013, attending a high school reunion in Davis, Oklahoma.
- On October 3, he sent his sister a text saying that he was going on a trip and would be back in nine days.
- A few weeks before his disappearance, Rick quit his job and cashed out his 401(k).
On October 3, 2013, a few weeks after the reunion, Julie got a text from her brother. “He was going to Northeastern Oklahoma, that he would be gone for nine days,” the text said, and “to let him know how mom was.”
Julie told Dateline that their mother had Stage 4 cancer and was dying at the time. “It was a very out-of-the-ordinary text for him, just to take off,” Julie said. “Especially while she’s sick.”
Julie said that she texted her brother back immediately but got no response. “I got nothing,” Julie said, adding that she didn’t know what her brother was going to Northeastern Oklahoma to do. “I’ve tried to think of what he would be doing there, and I have no idea.”
That was the last time Julie heard from her brother.
“A couple of days after he sent me that text, my aunt fell and broke her hip and so I messaged him about that,” Julie said. “Then I sent him a message on Facebook, also. And I got nothing.”
Julie said that was out of character for Rick.
“He’s never even read the message,” she added.
And then, Julie said, their mother died. “A couple of days after [my aunt fell], my mother passed away,” Julie told Dateline. And still no word from Rick. “I didn’t know where he was,” she said.
After some asking around, Julie said she found out some concerning news about her brother. “A mutual friend of ours called and told me that my brother had quit his job and cashed out his 401(k).” She added that the friend told her that Rick had said to her that “‘He was going to just disappear.”
Julie said that a few weeks later, the friend’s story changed. “She had told me that my brother was going to go up in the woods and kill himself.”
After that, Julie said she didn’t know what to believe, but said she did find out that the friend was right about one thing: Rick had, in fact, quit his job and cashed out his 401(k) several weeks prior to his disappearance. “He had been coming to my house two days a week for a couple of months while [our mom] was sick and helping,” Julie said. “He had already quit his job and I had no idea.”
According to Julie, no one in the family did.
Julie told Dateline that at the time, the search for her brother was minor. “I think everyone thought that maybe he did just disappear on his own,” she said.
But if he did, she always thought he’d come back. He did not. “The next year, I went to the class reunions,” Julie said. “I thought if he was going to be anywhere, he would show up there.”
But her brother was nowhere to be found.
Julie told Dateline that Rick wasn’t officially reported missing in 2013. She said that between dealing with the loss of her mother and a miscommunication, no one in their family reported him missing. In fact, it wasn’t until 2018 that a report was filed to the Davis Police Department. “I drove to Davis and I did the report,” Julie said.
The Davis Police Department is investigating Rick’s disappearance. Dateline spoke with Davis Police Chief Dan Cooper who confirmed that Rick was last seen on September 28, 2013, at a class reunion in Davis. He also confirmed that “his sister had contact with him by a text on October 3,” and “at that time, he said he was going to Northwest Oklahoma and that he’d be back in nine days.”
Julie told Dateline in a follow-up conversation that she didn’t fully remember what her brother’s text was, but she believed he had said he was going to Northeastern Oklahoma.
Chief Cooper also confirmed to Dateline that prior to his disappearance, Rick had quit his job and “cashed out his 401(k).”
Rick’s car was determined to have been sold in Georgia in 2014 or 2015, according to Chief Cooper. “I got ahold of the owner that has the car now,” he said. “He purchased it off of Craigslist from an individual there in Georgia.” Chief Cooper told Dateline that the individual who sold the car was not Rick. Additionally, “[Rick’s] driver’s license expired in 2016 and [has] never been renewed,” he said. “He just fell off the face of the earth.”
Julie told Dateline that she is frustrated with the Davis Police Department’s investigation into her brother’s disappearance. “They have done absolutely nothing,” Julie said. “They told me that his car was sold in Georgia to a Hispanic male and it was sold off of Craigslist in 2015.”
She doesn’t believe that is accurate. She said that she hired a private investigator who said that the burgundy 2007 Honda Civic “was sold to a female in Georgia in July of 2014 and it was sold through TitleMax.” Julie said she thinks the Davis Police Department has “pretty much written it off that my brother disappeared on his own.” Chief Cooper responded that his office is “investigating it to the best of our ability.” Dateline asked the chief is foul play is suspected in Rick’s disappearance. “Couldn’t give you a definite answer,” he said, adding that they are “waiting for more information to come in.”
“I honestly don’t think my brother just disappeared,” Julie said. She told Dateline that she thinks maybe Rick’s money from his 401(k) had something to do with his disappearance.
“I would like to think my brother’s still out there somewhere,” Julie said. “But I don’t think he would have stayed away this long.”
Rick is 6’0”, with brown eyes, he weighed 180 lbs., and had brown hair at the time of his disappearance. He would turn 63 years old this year.
Anyone with information about Rick’s whereabouts is asked to contact the Davis Police Department at 580-369-2323.