Christopher Orcutt’s family just wants answers.
His sister, Liddie-Marie Armstrong, and mother, Dawn Rasmussen, flew in from Washington and have spent the better part of a week canvassing Juneau and seeking information about Orcutt, last seen downtown on Aug. 25, 2016.
“It’s been hard,” Armstrong said Monday, during a brief rest stop at Heritage Coffee. “I have a lot of unanswered questions.”
This was the first opportunity his family members had to actively search for him in person, and they spent multiple days handing out fliers to everyone they met, and putting them up in storefront windows.
“We covered the whole downtown area, Mendenhall, Duck Creek,” Armstrong said. “We talked to a lot of his friends, we talked to the woman he last lived with. We heard lots of different stories. He had mentioned to a lot of people that he was planning to go to Bellingham — but how would he have gotten there? There’s no record of him going there.”
One theory floating around is that Orcutt stowed away in the trunk of a car on the ferry, Armstrong said, adding that she does plan to expand her search for him to the Bellingham area.
Her brother also told quite a few people he was going on a spiritual journey, she said.
Orcutt, 22, was last seen after leaving a party at an apartment over a downtown store; he reportedly was intoxicated and forgot several of his clothing layers and his cellphone.
Almost a week later, the host of the party told Juneau Police Department officers Orcutt had not returned for his belongings, which prompted her to report him missing.
The last verified sighting of Orcutt, said JPD Lt. Kris Sell, was when he had a conversation with someone taking out the garbage at Tracy’s King Crab Shack, in the 400 block of South Franklin Street, the night of Aug. 25.
“After that, we just don’t know,” she said.
Sell met with Armstrong and Rasmussen to show them where Orcutt went missing and other areas that were searched, saying, “I walked them through the last steps we knew of.”
Three weeks after Orcutt’s disappearance, two JPD police officers guided four dog teams from SouthEast Alaska Dogs Organized for Ground Search (SEADOGS) over the Thane Campground area, but the search came up empty.
“We saturated the area where we believed him to have been, out on Thane,” Sell said, adding that police were told he was camping out there but they did not locate his campsite. “There have been no good leads since then.”
In mid-September, a video was released by JPD that showed a man on camera at 2:30 a.m. outside the Parkshore Condominiums, 800 F St. In the video, a person is seen riding up on a bicycle and stopping near two other parked bicycles. That lead, like so many others, did not pan out.
A contact that Armstrong made forwarded her photos of a man that she believes is her brother with an unidentified woman, seen eating at the Valley Restaurant on Oct. 6.
“We never found those two people,” Sell said of the photo, cautioning that her department was not able to verify the man was Orcutt.
“I think the family is in a tough spot,” Sell said. “It could be him. … It’s sheer speculation (at this point) but we’re keeping all options open; we have’t ruled out any possibilities.”
Even if someone recognizes the couple in the photo and someone other than Orcutt is identified, that would still be helpful, she said.
Orcutt’s family last heard from him a week before his disappearance, when he talked to Rasmussen on the phone. They remain convinced he is still alive.
“I know he’s not dead, he loved life too much to kill himself,” Armstrong said. “Honestly, I don’t know what to do. I feel frustrated because people know where he is and aren’t saying anything. What if it was their kid?”
Orcutt had been upset with family members, but Armstrong hopes that would not keep him out of contact.
“I just want him to know, there are a lot of health problems with the family, we just need him to call and let us know he’s OK,” she said. “I understand if he’s mad at us. We just want to know he’s alive. We don’t even need to know where he’s at, just that he’s OK. Just pick up a phone and say ‘I’m alive,’ or email someone.”
Rasmussen, who describes her son as “everything a mom would want,” added softly, “I want him home.”
Orcutt is described as being a 5-foot-11, weighing approximately 180 pounds. He was last seen wearing an orange-red button up shirt with grey jeans. A reward is being offered and anyone with information can call JPD at 586-0600, Armstrong at (425) 791-5533 or Rasmussen at (360) 202-6533.
Contact reporter Liz Kellar at 523-2246 or firstname.lastname@example.org.