May 16, 2008The Missing -- A Weekly exposé of Lost Souls -- Issue #14
In this week's edition of "The Missing," we revisit the mysterious disappearance of Ahren Benjamin Barnard, a 35-year-old resident of Boise, Idaho, who went missing in December 2004.
"I live with this every single day," Ahren's mother, Vicki Barnard, said in a telephone interview with Investigation Discovery. "It's like this lead coat that you wear, this heavy thing that you can't put aside, unless you are a person willing to walk away from your loved one. Life goes on for everyone else and you can't fault them for that. It's good that people want to lead their life, but it is so hard to live in this gray area. Your life moves on but you still have one foot stuck in the gray."
Ahren was last seen around 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, December 4, 2004. According to Vicki, she spoke with her son on the telephone the night before he disappeared, and he was in a good mood. He was looking forward to the New Year and told her he was thinking about buying a limousine and obtaining a chauffeur license.
"We had a good conversation," Vicki remembered. "We started to make plans for Christmas and he said he was going to call me the next day."
When Ahren failed to call his mother the following day, she was concerned but told herself he probably got busy and forgot to call. However, with each passing day her concern turned to worry, and her stomach was soon in knots.
"It was highly unusual for him not to call me or to return my calls," Vicki said. "Ahren always carried his cell phone wherever he went. He could not live without it. He had even purchased a second identical phone, which he always kept plugged in and charging so that whenever he needed to he could swap the batteries. You have to understand-we have a very close bond. He's my only child; I raised him myself since he was a toddler, so when I didn't hear from him I knew something was wrong."
Vicki contacted all of Ahren's friends, but none of them had heard from him since the previous week. She then contacted his ex-girlfriend, the mother of his young child, but she had not heard from him, either. Vicki lived several hours away in another state, so she called the Boise Police Department and asked them to check on her son. Officers later gained entry into Ahren's house but saw nothing out of the ordinary to suggest foul play. With few options left, Vicki decided to travel to Boise to investigate the situation herself.
"I went to his house, and he was nowhere," Vicki said. "His car, drivers license, passport, phone, everything was there, and so I did not know what to do. I looked through his computer and found nothing. On his desk I found a Christmas list he had made out and some other papers that showed he had paid his water bill on the day he disappeared."
Vicki said she went to the police station to seek help but was told that they could not do anything until 30 days had passed since Ahren's disappearance. Undeterred, she continued to make calls to the station and finally got in touch with an officer who agreed to sit down and discuss the case with her.
"I spoke with a detective in person, and he said, 'Ma'am, you need to accept the fact that your son walked away from his life. It's December, it's getting close to Christmas, and he most likely killed himself.'
Ahren admittedly had a rough time in the years leading up to his disappearance, his fiance, the mother of his first child, was killed in a car accident, and he had spent $60,000 fighting her parents for custody of their child, however, he was coping with those issues and making plans for the future. Ahren was an entrepreneur at heart and had been successful in a variety of businesses In the year prior to his disappearance, he had operated a sport bike shop that he and a partner had started on a shoestring budget and before long had developed into a thriving business with $125,000 in inventory. Ahren and his partner's business relationship eventually soured, and they closed up shop, but Ahren saw it as another chapter in his life, and at the time of his disappearance, he was already planning his next move.
According to Vicki, the officer who was initially working on her case has since retired and the new officer assigned to the case, Detective Brian Lee, has been working hard on the case and keeps in frequent contact with her.
Det. Lee spoke with Investigation Discovery about the case yesterday. However, he could not comment on the status of the investigation.
"It is an open investigation that we're working, and I can't discuss the details with you," Lee said.
Vicki remains determined to discover what happened to her son. She has spent over $20,000 of her own money on a private investigator and various other resources and also maintains a Web site devoted to her son's case, located at www.helpfindahren.com
. She also maintains a MySpace page for her son at www.myspace.com/AhrenBarnard
"My son is a great person, and he has a good heart," Vicki said. "I try to keep hope alive, but from the very beginning my gut has told me he has been harmed."
Ahren Benjamin Barnard is described as a white male, 6' tall, 220 lbs., with brown hair and brown eyes. He has pierced ears, a mole by his right eye, and a mole above his mustache on the right side of his face. Anyone with information is asked to call the Boise Police Department at 208-373-5401 or Detective Brian Lee at 208-373-5403.