In early December of 2018, Lisa Wigington got on the phone with her brother, Troy Wigington, to plan the family Christmas for later that month.
“We couldn’t get together for Thanksgiving that year, so we were going to get together at Christmas,” Lisa told Dateline.
Lisa and Troy’s younger sister, Stephanie Butler, says she also spoke to her brother Troy in the beginning of December.
“We were talking about the upcoming Christmas and what he got his son,” Stephanie said. “I put him on speaker phone and he said that next time we spoke, we should FaceTime.”
But there wouldn’t be a next time. And there wouldn’t be a family gathering at Christmas. On December 11, Troy disappeared.
According to a press release from the Eureka Police Department, Troy, 43, was last seen leaving his Eureka, California house on foot around 8:30 a.m. on December 11, 2018. Eureka police told local media that Troy’s wife Kelly was the last person known to have seen him.
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"According to the wife, he walked away from the house during an argument and made some statements to the fact that he was going to go hang himself in the woods," Eureka Police Department Detective Rick Bise said. "The only bad thing we have is that the wife says he might be suicidal, but we can't verify that." Dateline was unable to locate Troy’s wife Kelly for her recollection of events that morning.
Police said that Kelly reported her husband missing on December 14, a few days after he allegedly left the house. Troy’s sister Lisa told Dateline that Kelly then called her to relay the news.
“I was shocked. I didn’t know how to process it,” Lisa told Dateline. “A part of me is like I guess it could happen, but another part of me says that’s not who my brother is.”
Lisa then called their sister, Stephanie.
“My first reaction was that this is wrong. This doesn’t sound right,” Stephanie said. “I felt instantly that something was wrong.”
Lisa said one reason she couldn’t imagine Troy killing himself is because, growing up, he never wanted to kill animals.
“He didn’t want to hunt or fish. I can’t see someone like that choosing to commit suicide,’ she said. “He was a truly sweet, gentle person.”
Though they don’t believe their brother left his house to kill himself, both Lisa and Stephanie recently traveled from their homes in Oregon to search for Troy’s body.
Lisa told Dateline that, growing up in Canada, she and Troy would often play in the woods.
“Troy was an avid hiker. He loved to take his kids adventuring,” Lisa said. “There’s a big wooded area near his house, between the houses and a golf course. So we were searching that area for any hints or clues.”
They did not find anything in the woods. Troy left his keys, wallet, and cell phone at home, according to his sisters. There has been no sign of Troy in over four months, but his sisters believe somebody knows something. Troy’s family is now offering a $3,000 reward for firsthand knowledge of Troy’s whereabouts and safe return, or for information that leads to an arrest and conviction of those responsible for Troy’s disappearance.
“It’s to help motivate people to talk. Because we feel like something happened to him, and somebody knows about it,” Troy’s sister Stephanie told Dateline. “Troy is very kind and mellow and would give you the shirt off his back.”
“He was imaginative. We had a lot of fun together growing up,” sister Lisa said. “If you were his friend, you’d have a friend for life.”
Troy Wigington is described as being 6’3” tall and weighing about 230 lbs. He has brown hair, green eyes and sports a goatee. He was last seen wearing a green jacket, blue jeans, and black shoes. If you have any information on Troy’s whereabouts, please call Eureka Police Department Detective Bise at 707-441-4109. If you wish to remain anonymous, please call Nor-Cal Alliance at 530-378-4491.
Bianca Hillier covers missing person and homicide cases for NBC News.