The day Zackary Baldwin disappeared was the day he and his family were to celebrate his twin boys’ 11th birthday. It was June 26, 2016.
“We were smoking ribs and had a cake,” Jessica Baldwin, Zackary’s wife of more than a decade, told Dateline. “I was sick, so he didn’t want me to touch any of the food or frost the cake. He did it all.”
Little did the family know that afternoon, they wouldn’t enjoy the special moment. Around 5:30 p.m., Zackary, 30, told his wife he was going to head out on a short ride on his 2008 Honda CVR 600 motorcycle before dinner. It was an activity he had been obsessed with for years, but had only recently made his hobby.
“It wasn’t unusual for him to go on a ride before it got dark,” said his wife Jessica. “But this time, he didn’t come back.”
Jessica says a few hours passed and she thought perhaps he had run into a friend, so she drove the lonely roads near their home in Williston, North Dakota trying to get a glimpse of him or his bike. It immediately sat funny with her, though, as he had been eager to celebrate with his boys that evening. When she couldn’t spot his bike anywhere in town, and the roadways he’d often frequent were empty, she panicked.
That’s when the daunting search began. As the weeks have passed, the mystery has only deepened. Several tips have been called in, authorities said, including unconfirmed sightings of Zackary in other states. None has panned out.
“We’ve exhausted all leads,” Corey Metzger, a detective with the Williams County Sheriff’s Department, told Dateline. “When people go missing around here, they usually turn up in a few days. This is peculiar because it’s been weeks with just nothing.”
Authorities do not believe foul play is involved, or that Zackary crashed his motorcycle, but they stress nothing has been ruled in or out. Departments in nearby Montana and other North Dakota counties have been sent Zackary’s information, as police theorize he may not be in the area anymore.
Described as a dedicated father and husband, Zackary’s family is at a loss, his sister Krysten Hause told Dateline. Krysten flew up from her home in Michigan to help her sister-in-law Jessica search.
“It’s just overwhelming; physically, emotionally, mentally,” Krysten said. “We can’t understand what could have happened.”
What the family really is pleading for is help. The area Zackary could be in is just too large to search on their own. Jessica says she is extremely grateful for the community members who have already turned out to help in the search, and believes a higher turnout could be of even greater help to the family’s efforts. A volunteer group out of Minnesota, United Legacy, is also providing assistance and guidance in the case.
Zackary’s family says they have yet to celebrate the boys’ birthdays. They are simply trying to hold onto hope that, one day, there could be more birthday celebrations – with their father home.
“We have a plan for our life together. And I’m never going to give up on that plan,” Jessica told Dateline, pain clearly audible in her voice. “I’ll spent eternity looking for him until he’s safe.”
Zackary Baldwin is described as 5’7” tall, weighing 200 lbs. with brown hair and hazel eyes. He was last seen wearing a white, black and neon green jacket with matching gloves, blue jeans and a black Shoei brand helmet.
If you have any information regarding his whereabouts, you’re urged to contact the Williams County Sheriff’s Department at (701) 577-7700.
You can also visit the Facebook page ‘Help Find Zackary Baldwin’ for more information or to volunteer to help.