Henry Groeneveld

Henry Groeneveld

Family plans search party for missing Snohomish man

A handful of possible sightings have given them hope that Henry Groeneveld can be found.

SNOHOMISH — A volunteer search party will comb the city of Snohomish and its surroundings Saturday, for any sign of a postman who went missing two weeks ago.

The family of Henry John Groeneveld, 63, is holding out hope of bringing him home for Christmas. Posters bearing his face have been tacked up on storefronts and bulletin boards around Snohomish County.

Groeneveld has been missing since about 9:30 a.m. Dec. 11, according to the latest timeline released by the sheriff’s office. He’d walked home from a difficult day at work, had a tense talk with his wife at their home on Union Avenue, and told her he was going to the river, said Liz Dickson, his oldest daughter. He hasn’t been heard from since. He left his keys, phone and wallet.

A handful of possible sightings have been giving his family hope. The last unconfirmed report was a week ago near 131st Avenue SE and 88th Street SE, east of Snohomish. Each possible sighting has been from a distance, Dickson said, by people who didn’t know to stop and ask if it was Groeneveld.

If it was actually him last week, his daughter hopes he hasn’t suffered a medical emergency.

“But I’m not delusional, either,” Dickson said. She knows it has been wet and cold many nights since Dec. 11. She has asked people to search their property, and to keep a close eye on the river.

So far about 150 people have contacted Dickson offering to help in a search party that’s gathering at 8:30 a.m. Saturday at McDonald’s on Avenue D. They will have maps of places that still need to be searched, and places to check again.

“I need an army!!” Dickson posted this week on social media. A Facebook group has gathered 3,800 members. A UPS store printed hundreds of dollars worth of fliers for free. Local chain Sahara Pizza delivered fliers on pizza boxes. Family gathered last week for a public prayer vigil.

Meanwhile, dive teams with the county sheriff’s office searched the Snohomish River at low tide, but found nothing. A sheriff’s office helicopter, local pilots and cadaver dogs haven’t been able to locate him, either.

Groeneveld has been known in town for the past 25 years as a kindly U.S. Postal Service letter carrier. He walks with a hunched posture. He’s white with short gray hair, 5-foot-7 and about 150 pounds. He was in good health for a man his age and walks almost everywhere he goes. He showed no signs of dementia, according to his family. On the morning of Dec. 11, he was wearing a red knit cap, a brown pullover and blue postal worker pants.

“Henry is not dangerous,” reads a recent flier. “If found, please reassure him that he is not in trouble.”

Caleb Hutton: 425-339-3454; chutton@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @snocaleb.

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