It's been nearly three weeks since a Hawai'i Island businessman vanished -- leaving behind his pregnant wife and 2-year-old son. The last time anyone saw or heard from Jeff Meek was on November 8, when he went to work on his family's 20-acre Pepe'ekeo Point lot.
Both Meek's mother and his wife, who is five-months pregnant with their second child, say they've called his cell phone several times since he went missing. They say it usually never connects and investigators told them it was dead -- but two nights ago, it went to his voicemail. It's another baffling detail that has family members and friends wondering if 43-year-old Jeff Meek may be the victim of foul play.
"I wanted to hear his voice and so I called his cell phone and it said, 'Hi this is Jeff with Jeff Meek plumbing' and I left a message saying, 'Jeff, this is your Mom. I love you.' Now up until that point the phone has just been dead, so I don't know. I did report it to the police department right away. It's odd," said Jeff's mother Sandra.
Sandra flew in from California on November 12 and has spent the last two weeks tirelessly looking for her son.
"My son was a unique individual. He was an ex-police officer and a 32nd degree mason. He was a priesthood holder in his church and I know he knew his mom wouldn't give up. I'm not going to give up," said Sandra Meek.
She and his close friend and business partner, Kimo Field, spent Wednesday posting fliers at the Hilo Farmer's Market. Over the weekend they distributed nearly 2,000 in neighborhoods across east Hawai'i Island.
"The truth will surface. It's just a matter of time, but we pray that anyone with any information will speak out and come forward," said Field.
One of the most puzzling circumstances of Meek's disappearance was the discovery of his boots along a shoreline cliff -- two days after family members had already searched the same spot.
"Maybe someone inadvertently picked it up at the beach and moved it and they're afraid to come forward with that fact. If that occurred we will keep it anonymous, we just want to know how that boot got up there," said Sandra.
Meek's wife, Marylou, says she believes he's in the water, but they've canvassed the area several times with no luck. She's hopeful someone who spends time in the water of Pepeekeo Point may spot something and will reach out to the family.
"Let us know if they see anything floating in the water, even if it's just strange and unusual and they don't know what it is -- notify the police. If they see anything on land that's washed up, also give that information to the police so that if he is in the water -- that's what my gut feeling is telling me, is that he's there -- that we find him and honor him in the way that he would so choose," said Marylou.
According to Lt. Gregory Esteban with the Hawai'i Police Department, "Although the search of the Pepeekeo property, the ocean, and shoreline areas were concluded-- this after detectives, a police canine, and fire department personnel failed to turn up any additional evidence-- the investigation into Mr. Meek's disappearance remains active."
Field, who has organized most of the volunteer searches for Meek, says as the days pass by they take their toll -- but no one is giving up.
"Since we have not found him and we have no clues up to this point as to where he might be, then we have no other choice but to start searching in the direction of foul play. If you have any information, as far as what could've happened to Jeff or any prior arguments that may have occurred that maybe somebody might have known of or someone might have seen -- we would very appreciate deeply if they would come forward and speak out," said Field.
Meek's mother says a 25-year veteran police officer has been hired to mow all 20 acres of the Pepeekeo lot in hopes some clue of what happened to her son will turn up, but the family is waiting for rain in the area to clear up first.
Meek's wife says the last few weeks have been extremely tough. Adding insult to injury, the tires and rims on her car were recently stolen. She says she's bracing for the possibility Meek won't return home.
"There's that glimmer of faith that maybe he'll just reappear, but that's wishful thinking on my part," Marylou said. "To be able to find him no matter what his state is -- to find him and to have that peace and closure and all of those things accompanied with it. I love Jeff with all my heart and soul. He's my best friend. We've been together for 15 years and I miss him so much every day and just please, please try to help us find him."
Sources say police are looking into possible business associates who may have had issues with Meek. Hawai'i Island PD is asking anyone who may have seen Meek in the Pepeekeo area before his disappearance to contact Detective Wendall Carter at 808-961-2378 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Anyone with an anonymous tip about Meek's whereabouts can also contact Crimestoppers at # (808) 961-8300. Information leading to his whereabouts could lead to a $1,000 reward.