Tyrell Lyons | Courtesy GoFundMe
FORT HALL — A family has launched a GoFundMe in hopes of raising money to hire a private investigator as the search for a missing man nears four months.
The last time 28-year-old Tyrell Lyons spoke with any member of his family was on Dec. 21, when he asked his sister to bring his belongings to a mental health facility in Gig Harbor, Washington as he prepared for discharge.
Lyons’ mother, LLavon Gomez, is now hoping to raise $5,000 to hire a private investigation firm, as she has hit several dead ends with the Tacoma Police Department.
“They don’t do anything unless you’re a kid,” she said of the Tacoma police. “If you’re an adult, you just get put in the NCIC (National Crime Information Center) and they list you as missing, then I guess if you pop up, you pop up.”
Gomez sent Lyons to the Tacoma area to seek addiction treatment at the Olalla Recovery Center on Aug. 17.
In November, she reported him missing when a halfway house where he was staying informed her that he had not been there in days.
After not receiving any updates from Tacoma police, Gomez reached out to the nearby Puyallup Tribal Police Department.
Days later, she received a call from the Puyallup police. A detective told him that her son was in a mental health facility after a failed suicide attempt. Gomez later found out that despite never contacting her with an update, Tacoma police closed her son’s missing person case after responding to the scene of his attempted suicide.
She made that discovery when she again reported him missing in January.
As Gomez explained, Lyons entered the mental health facility with only the items on him at the time. As he prepared for discharge from the facility, he reached out to his sister, requesting she meet him with his belongings.
No one has heard from him since.
The family has contacted hospitals, treatment facilities and halfway houses in search of Lyons.
Gomez requested another missing person case be opened by the Tacoma police. She spoke with state and national missing person advocacy groups, representatives of the U.S. Department of Justice and Idaho State Police Missing Persons Clearinghouse.
In speaking with a member of the ISP clearinghouse, Gomez was informed that approximately 1,200 people are reported missing in the Tacoma area each month. Because of that, the local police do not “actively search” for adults.
EastIdahoNews.com contacted the Tacoma Police Department to confirm this information but did not receive a response. The department spokeswoman, Wendy Haddow, was able to confirm that there is a opened missing persons case in Lyons’ name.
Tribal police from Puyallup have offered to assist, as have area members of missing person advocacy groups and the Department of Justice, Gomez told EastIdahoNews.com. But due to jurisdictional issues, their offers must be accepted by local police, she continued, and Tacoma police have not yet accepted those offers.
In discussing the events leading up to her son’s disappearance, Gomez also described a very alarming contact made to her family from Lyons’ cell phone.
She said it started with text messages to various family members requesting passwords for apps on the phone. Then, she received a call.
The voice on the other end was that of a man she did not recognize. As she described, the man went on about there being large rats on the ground. When she interrupted the man to ask if her son was there, Gomez said the man replied simply, “No.”
She asked the man how he came to be in possession of the phone. He responded, “I got it from some light-skinned cat.”
She reported the call to police but said as far as she knows, the lead has not been explored.
Gomez also said she opened a recent bank statement sent to her son at her address. According to her, the account has not been touched.
Unlike other agencies, the ISP Missing Persons Clearinghouse is able to assist, Gomez said, because Lyons is an Idaho resident missing in another state. They have launched efforts to post missing person advertisements in the Tacoma area.
That is another snag Gomez is facing, though.
She explained that while Tacoma police are supportive of her placing missing posters around town, they have asked that she provide her phone number on those posters, rather than the number to their department.
“To me, that doesn’t really make sense,” Gomez said. “What if somebody calls me and tells me something, I would question them — you know, who, what, where, when, is there a contact number where I can call you? But there are other questions a cop would ask. Then, I just have to pass it on (to Tacoma police), like ‘This is what I heard?’ That doesn’t make sense to me.”
According to Haddow, the department posts missing persons bulletins on its social media accounts with department contact information listed. However, EastIdahoNews.com was unable to locate such a post on Facebook or Twitter for Lyons.
Now, the family is attempting to go around the Tacoma police and hire a local private investigation firm. To do that, they are hoping to raise $5,000 through GoFundme to cover the cost. In two days, the fundraising efforts have garnered just over $1,400 in donations.
The post Local family raising money hoping a PI can help find missing man appeared first on East Idaho News.
Local family raising money hoping a PI can help find missing man
Tyrell Lyons | Courtesy GoFundMe
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