Family and police haven’t given up the search for a 75-year-old West Richland man who’s been missing for more than a week.
Authorities searched the Columbia River the afternoon of Aug. 12 for Loy Vannapho, whose gray two-door Toyota Tundra was found by police at Columbia Point, a popular boating and hiking spot near Richland.
He was reported missing the night before, and was last seen about 10 a.m. on Aug. 11 near the Emerald of Siam on Jadwin Avenue in Richland when he dropped his wife, Ma, off to work.
Friends and relatives first became concerned when Vannapho failed to pick up his wife in the afternoon — a daily routine, along with watering plants in his garden and sometimes playing poker at Jokers Comedy Club in Richland. He didn’t come home that night.
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“He would never ever miss that, picking her up,” said DT Luu, Vannapho’s son-in-law.
The next day, Aug. 12, the day of the river search, witnesses reported seeing Vannapho around the dock, wearing a white polo shirt, shorts and flip-flop sandals, Luu said. Someone also reported seeing him at Howard Amon Park.
Crews from Columbia Basin Dive Rescue and several police departments scoured the river for several hours before the river search was called off about 7:30 p.m.
Vannapho is diabetic and suffers from memory problems. He also suffered a heart attack last year, Luu said.
“Something abnormal is going on here,” Luu said. “He’s not in good health. It’s not like he’s going to go hike down Columbia Point or anything.”
“We’re doing everything we can with what we have,” said Richland Police Sgt. Allen Jenkins at the time. “A lot of agencies are pitching in bodies to help us.”
Columbia Basin Dive Rescue continued to send teams out this week. Luu is grateful for the effort.
“They normally don’t do this kind of stuff,” he said.
We’re hoping to find out where he is, what happened to him. If it’s the worst-case scenario, whoever guilty or not guilty, let the law handle that portion.
DT Luu, Loy Vannapho’s son-in-law
The official search has become a joint effort between West Richland and Richland police, said West Richland Capt. Ben Majetich.
West Richland police last examined the area near Columbia Point about 11 a.m. Aug. 19.
“We’ve searched that area twice and there’s now some people on foot checking the land mass area on the wooded portion, just to double-check that the search was complete,” Majetich said.
Family members, friends and other community members also conducted separate searches between Richland and West Richland, often in groups of at least a dozen people, Luu said.
“We’ve done a lot of the search around the area ourselves,” he said.
Luu and his family backtracked to Jokers to see if Vannapho had stopped by before officials found his truck. Employees said they saw him come in the two days prior, but not on the day he went missing.
“We know from their camera footage that he never made it inside,” Luu said.
Right now, the family remains optimistic.
“We’re hoping to find out where he is, what happened to him,” Luu said. “If it’s the worst-case scenario, whoever guilty or not guilty, let the law handle that portion.”
Family members also have a Facebook page at facebook.com/justiceforloy for anyone who wants to help.