April 26, 2015

03/21/13 (Update): Derick Higgins, 21, Smithfield, IL

Derick Higgins Missing since 3/21/13
from Smithfield, IL
I am thrilled to announce that Derick Higgins has been found safe. Derek turned up in San Diego in January 2015 and has since been reunited with his family.

"I don't even know how to explain it. There is not a way to explain it, there is not a word in the dictionary that can explain how we feel,” his parents Tim Higgins and Deb Corsaw told CBS8.com.
"When we first saw him, the first thing he did was stand up and gave us both a hug and it was....such a relief," said Higgins.

It was during a routine traffic stop that police noticed Higgins acting nervous. When his name came up in the police computer as endangered, police took him into protective custody and  brought him to the local hospital. Higgins had been living alone on the street for 22 months begging for money, fending off robbers, getting beaten and burned and eating out of trash cans. His father told the Journal Star that his son tested negative for drugs, was struggling with memory problems. CBS8.com reported that his parents believe, "prior accidents contributed to his disappearance and his memory loss."

“We are very nervous....we have a long road ahead," his father told CBS8.com. But we see light at the end of the road, we are very happy about everything.” 

His parents encourage parents of the missing to have hope. 

“Don't give up. Be persistent,” added Corsaw.


Alford, Abbie.  Man missing for two years is found in San Diego. January 22, 2015. CBS8.com.
Accessed April 26, 2015 from http://www.cbs8.com/story/27910166/man-missing-for-two-years-is-found-in-san-diego.

Luciano, Phil. Luciano: Parents of Derick Higgins say he's looking forward to coming home. January 21, 2015. Journal Star.com. Accessed April 26, 2015 from http://www.pjstar.com/article/20150121/NEWS/150129783/?Start=1

* * * * * * * * * * * * *
Full Story:
Search for Missing Illinois Man Expands to Florida

Derick A. Higgins, 21, was last seen on March 21, 2013 at the home he shares in rural Smithfield, Ill. with his mother and stepfather. On the morning of his disappearance, he spoke with his stepfather shortly before leaving in his vehicle around 7 am. At the time, no one had a reason to be concerned.

On the day of his disappearance, Higgins reportedly withdrew some money from the bank. At some point during the day, he also used his debit card to purchase gas in Creve Couer, Ill., about an hour away.

Derick's father, Tim Higgins, told Alexandra Sutter of WMBD/WYZZ that the disappearance was very unlike his son, who had been a stand-out athlete at Cuba High School and had never before missed a day of work. He admits that maybe his son had been a little depressed and withdrawn more recently.

Early on March 24, Higgins was classified as "missing and endangered" which, according to police, typically means that the person is depressed or could be a threat to himself.

Later that night, his 1998 tan Buick LeSabre was found abandoned just outside Tallahassee, Fla. The car had been involved in a minor single car accident on Tharpe Street in which it left the roadway and ran over a road sign before coming to a stop.

A passing police officer noticed the abandoned car and had it towed. It then sat in storage.

The car was finally traced back to Higgins after a towing company sent a bill for storage via registered mail to Higgins's address. The surprised family notified the Fulton County Sheriff's office in Illinois, which contacted the sheriff's office in Florida. The Florida authorities are working with the Illinois police to help find the missing man.

The authorities have not found a connection between Higgins and Florida, and no one is sure why he would go there.

The Fulton County Sheriff's office believes Higgins stopped for gas in Creve Couer, Ill., about an hour away, because his debit card was used. The office stated previously that they do not believe foul play was involved in the disappearance.

Derick's dad told WMBD/WYZZ that he just wants to know if his son is safe. "If he sees this or hears of us, just contact us. Let us know you're safe and OK. If you don't want to be found, we understand. We'll quit looking. We just want to know you're OK."

Higgins is 6 feet tall and weighs about 160 pounds. He has brown hair and blue eyes. He was last seen wearing a dark-colored hoodie and blue jeans.

Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Derick Allen Higgins is requested to contact the Leon County, Florida, Sheriff’s Office at (850) 922-3300 or the Fulton County, Illinois, Sheriff's Office at (309) 547-2277.

First published: March 21, 2013. Revised April 26, 2015.

Case Details

Name/age: Derick Allen Higgins, 21
Last seen: 3/21/13 Smithfield, Ill.
Physical description: 6 feet tall, 160 pounds, brown hair, blue eyes wearing a dark-colored hoodie and blue jeans.
Notes: Higgins was driving a tan 1998 Buick LeSabre with a cracked/broken windshield and front bumper damage, license number is L987041. The car has since been recovered in Florida.
Status: Missing endangered


Leon County Sheriff's Office. (2013, April 18). Press Release: MISSING: Derick Allen Higgins From Illinois, Car Found on Tharpe Street. Retrieved July 2, 2013 from http://www.wctv.tv/home/headlines/MISSING-Derick-Allen-Higgins-203616501.html

Luciano, Phil. (2013, April 15). Missing Smithfield Man's Car Found in Florida. Journal Star. Retrieved July 2, 2013 from http://www.pjstar.com/news/x935165774/Missing-Smithfield-mans-car-found-in-Florida#axzz2XugbuedO

Staff article. (2013, April 15). Missing Smithfield man's car found with tow bill. Canton Daily Ledger. Retrieved July 2, 2013 from http://www.cantondailyledger.com/article/20130415/NEWS/130419378/1001/NEWS#axzz2XuvKbcAD

Sutter, Alexandra. (2013, April 1). Family Continues Search for 21-Year-Old Derick Higgins. WMBD/WYZZ.Retrieved July 2, 2013 from http://centralillinoisproud.com/fulltext?nxd_id=315552

Staff article. (2013, March 31). Former North Fulton sports star Derick Higgins reported missing. Gatehouse News Service. Retrieved July 2, 2013 from http://www.pjstar.com/free/x1037530685/Former-North-Fulton-sports-star-reported-missing#axzz2XugbuedO


tennessee111 said...

Looks like someone that just took off for another life to me. For instance he has a step father-so probably never was a really stable home enviroment to begin with. Step father relationships usually are not as strong. I knew runaways with step fathers.

Grace Flynn said...

Do you know this family? Why would you make this comment? Do you know that Derick has immediate family, extended family and friends that love him and are worried sick about him? Please do the courteous thing and think about what you are going to say before making a comment in a public forum. Thank You!

lawillis said...

I DO know this family, and they ARE heartbroken. Even if he DID take off for another life, his family just wants to know that he is alive. They will respect his wish for privacy. But nothing in Derrick's life leading up to this disappearance gave his family any reason to believe that he would just "disappear off the face of the earth". They are worried, and they have reason to be. And for the record, my son adores his step-father, and is, in some ways, closer in relationship to him than he is his own father!

Hannah Lewis said...

He is my cousin and I want to know he is ok.So many thoughts pour through my head as to what happened or is happening.. I hate it.

Anonymous said...

To Mr. Tennessee 111,

You're entitled to your opinion and I hope your right, but I'm sick of the unnecessary comments and rumors.

If you'd like to help, please do so! I can use all the help I can to try and find my son!! He has been missing for almost 18 weeks.

Did you know that the day Derick went missing, 3 other guys didn't show up for work?

Did you know that Derick's wallet was found in his car?

Did you know that Derick might not of been the person who used his debit card last?

Did you know that he was looking for vehicles from Craigslist?

Did you know that he made an offer on some property in January?

Did you know that he did not close out his bank accounts?

Did you know that he has family and friends that miss him dearly?

There's more, but that's all I'm saying about some of the facts.

I hope you never have to encounter anything like this.

Derick's MOM

Nancy Joachim said...

Tenessee111.... one day you may be unfortunate enough to experience half the terror his family and friends have endured that love Derick more than you can possibly imagine. Hopefully some over opinionated ass can keep their mouth shut and spare you. I am lucky enough to have met Derick many years ago and adore that little boy. Shame on you.

FamilyFriend1 said...

Tennessee, shame on you for making unfair judgements on this devastated family. Derick's mother is one of my dearest friends, and the suffering she has endured is something I hope you never have to experience. I've been through much of this with her and there are many things the public does not know. They have absolutely every reason to be concerned about his safety. I've been through his room with his mom and he left all of clothes, shoes, and favorite things. Who leaves their wallet with all of their identification, debit card, insurance card and just walks away with nothing? He has money in the bank that has not been touched since the day he went missing. These and many more things lead those who love him to believe something about this is not right. He's 22 and no one can tell him what to do or where to go, but they just want to know he's safe. Mr. T you could turn this into a positive and offer to help in this search for answers.

gls1961 said...

I am so glad I found this site, I was just wondering the other day about your son. My heart goes out to you and your family and I pray that he comes back to you one day, I can not imagine what you must be going through. I am sure just from reading everything I have read that your son knows you are looking for him and he knows you love him. Thoughts and prayers to you and your family.

Arleen said...

I hope Derick is safe and well, and contacts you soon.

tennessee111 said...

Shame on you all for attacking me for not assuming the worse.I am not the monster you portray me as. I did not make an unfair judgement. It is often the case in even stable enviroments that a child will never except the father that replaces his biological one . I was not jumping to any conclusions either way,you monsters just assumed I was so you had something to b1tch about.. Did you treat him this way too?.

tennessee111 said...

I come to a site about drowning victims aand see his story so I don't get why his name is here with all those drowning victims so I make a comment that he could be alive and get atrtacked. Your comments tell me what kind of people you amy be and say nothing about me. do not bother replying with more nasty comments. I will not be back to let you attack me with nonsense again. A missing child is no excuse for rudeness.I was not your enemy.

Lisa said...

@ Tennessee - The family is hurting, and I think the issue is that comment about his home life stung more than you realize. The commenters felt protective of the family, as I think we'd all be in their situation. People did not call you a monster, but they did say that you were making an unfair judgement. And unless we personally know the family, none of us can really know the situation. We really only have what was in the paper, which may be limited.

Lisa (Site Owner)

Lisa said...

I do also want to clarify that this site is not about drowning victims---the focus always was and has been on missing people. Given all of the publicity over drowning cases, the site name has made that a little confusing. But it is definitely for missing young adult males.

At the time the site started, the majority of the men listed were still missing. There were a number of unexplained drownings, and I was among the first to ask whether that seemed odd to anyone else or not. While this was in the back of my mind, the site name came about not because people drowned but because clues were found in all of the cases I read that didn't really seem to lead anywhere.

I compared this to footprints in the snow leading to a lake. Footprints themselves are deceptive; they only tell you that the person was there at some point, not where he was before that. And without other investigation or obvious signs (e.g., open water), a lone set of footprints doesn't prove that someone is in the lake or how he entered the water. They don't really tell you much at all. Much like a hat found on a pole. Or an odd telephone call.. These are things that provide only a tiny clue about the missing person but leave you asking, "Where could he have gone?"

Lisa (Site Owner)

Anonymous said...

@ Derrik's Mom,

When I read that he was checking out cars on craigslist I immediatley knew I needed to leave a message. This past Spring, circa February, I was looking to buy a new car on craigslist. The guy selling the car I was interested in didn't want to meet at his house, which is understandable. However, he refused to come to my house too. He wanted to meet way out in the boonies at a crossroads with nothing and nobody around, not even street lights. I tried to get him to meet me in the parking lot of a business but he refused. I almost went until my brother stopped me at the last minute saying not to go because it sounded like a trick to rob/kill. Criminals will do this because they know you are coming with cash and of course they want to do it in an area where no one is around to witness it. So as soon as I read your comment I felt concerned and wondered if this is what happened to him. I don't live in IL, but I know this is a sort of thing that can happen anywhere.

LostNMissing, Inc said...

Dear Derrick's Mom:
Please note I am sorry to learn of your missing son. I was referred to his case from an online friend who asked if we can make him a poster. I do have a couple of questions. First, he is not in NamUs. www.namus.org We are happy to do this for you but do need him registered. Please go to www.lostnmissing.com and click on register. We are a 501c3 registered nonprofit working with families of missing and law enforcement. On the Sheriff website, the way his poster is written it appears that it was not until after his vehicle was located in Florida that a missing person report was made. According to this page you were not notified of the vehicle for days therefore that says to me he was reported missing before you were notified of his vehicle located. My first advice is to have the Sheriff re-write how their alert is written as it gives the public a false impression that he may have just up and left and nobody is going to keep his info at the forefront of their minds if they feel he went missing on his own. Other questions, was clothing missing from home? Did he have a gps unit in his car? Was it in his car when recovered? Has he ever been to Florida before to know the direction of travel? This was a near "direct drive" from IL to Florida in the same day. That in itself is suspicious. What time was the vehicle located? I have numerous other questions but prefer not to publicly post. Please register Derick and we will do all possible. Thank you.
Cynthia Caron,President-Founder
LostNMissing Inc

Skunky said...

Tennessee, you do your own research so you know heaps more than the naysayers.

The truth is unpopular. Truth is more important than agreement.

I agree with your assessment.

lollipop4598 said...

Thats BULL. There is NO reason he would have to start another life in secrecy. And they found hid car!!!! Do you think he decided to start another life WITHOUT HIS CAR??? I know people who have great relationships with their step dads. You can't justify a generalization like that. He is a legal adult. NOT a runaway. No one would have stopped him from doing, or going anywhere. He met with trouble.

Nolesgirl1986 said...

To the family: so sorry you are having to go through this. I am from Fla, used to live in Tally and still go up there several times a year for the FSU games. Tharpe St where they found the truck is a well traveled street. It seems whoever drove the truck made it from Ill to Tallahassee in a short period of time. Was the debit card used only once during that time period? Was a large amount withdrawn.Were any items of value missing from the truck? The evidence in my opinion, with the Craig's List history points more to an abduction than a voluntary disappearance, since he left his main method of transportation, money and ID behind.

dericksaunt said...

Yes his debit card was used once. Yes he did withdraw a large amount of cash. We do t even know for site if it was him in the car and now Florida has crushed his car. His dad wanted the car bit because or local authorities didn't get back with them they crushed the car. Today has been a year and still nothing. My sister, Derick's mom is a complete mess.

pammyd said...

are there security cameras at the place his debit card was used to see if they can maybe tell if it was him or not? we buy cars on craigs and every time we do we have at least 2 people along. someone has to drive the other car, or a truck and dolly to tow it back. just tossing out ideas that im sure someone else probably thought of as well. I have 4 kids and I just cannot fatom and pray I never experience what u are going thru. my nephew was picked up out of his backyard when he was only 3 and was found wandering the street 10 miles away about 2 hours later. since that horrible day, we do what we can to help others with missing loved ones. most times there is nothing more we can do than to share missing posters on facebook, etc. prayers are being prayed for your family and for derrick.

InVitaVeritas said...

Thank you, Derek's mom and aunt, for taking the time to pass on some information. I was wondering if we could open up a thread for Derick on WebSleuths?

I'm interested in the $380 that was left in his wallet. I read that the amount taken out was $5900.

That leaves $5520 missing. Let's say he met up with someone to buy a truck. He spent $20 on food that day while traveling, a truck could easily be $5500. I'm wondering if something happened during the cash exchange. But if he planned on buying a car down there, how would he get the old one back?

Did he ever mention what he'd do with the LeSabre if he did get a new truck? Would he hold on to it and sell it, or try to get rid of it down there in Florida?

One last question- did he ever use email to contact potential truck owners? Did he look at specific truck magazines? And what kind of truck was he looking at buying?

tpintally said...

I live in Tallahassee, have kids same age, we never heard about this til friend shared this on fb today. We will help get word out & see if anyone especially his age has seen him. I cant believe authorities had car crushed. Did they search it for evidence first? Any fingerprints found on wallet or debit card? There should be video at bank ATM to see if it was him that used his card. How about cell ph records? Should be able to find towers it was close to. In Tallahassee with no transportation you can't get far. Options would be bus station, hitch hike on I 10, homeless shelter. But if 5900 was missing from his acct another used car could have been purchased. There is a used car lot on Tharpe St. Check records of sales and employees from the time to see if anyone recognizes him or remembers a transaction that could be helpful. I pray you find answers and I pray Derrick is safe.

Petroglyph said...

I'm against untrammelled surveillance, but if that story is true on its face value, chip that young man, immediately !!!

Jessica Smith said...

I'm so happy to hear you've located him!! Good luck!

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