Family hopes new discovery leads to man missing 25 years

Posted at 4:51 PM, Dec 22, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-22 22:39:04-05

ALLEGAN COUNTY, Mich. – A man missing for 25 years could be buried under the basement floor of a home in Allegan County.

His family is raising money to help excavate and repair the floor where his body is thought to be hidden.

Richard Hitchcock, 21,  disappeared 25 years ago. He was last seen leaving the River Front Lounge in Allegan. His cousin, Kellie Green said she’s never given up hope in finding his remains.

“It’s 25 years that we haven’t gotten to spend birthdays, Christmas, or any holidays together,” said Green. “And it’s 25 years of questions I’ve had that we shouldn’t have to ask. We should know these answers already. So our main goal is to find Richie’s remains and give our family some peace.”

Allegan County deputies initially thought Hitchcock was a missing person, searching the Kalamazoo River for his body. Hitchcock's car was found in a nearby parking lot days after his disappearance. Detective Craig Gardiner with the Allegan Co. Sheriff’s office has been working on the case ever since he became a deputy. He’s been supporting Green in her search for Hitchcock more than 20 years.

“I’m from Allegan. I knew who he was growing up,” said Detective Gardiner. “He’s a couple years older than me, so it’s a personal case I’d like to be solved for his family.”

Detective Gardiner said a recent ground penetration radar team detected a possible void in a home police b an Allegan County basement, but there’s not enough evidence for police to start digging.

“There’s a specific residence in the Allegan County area that has always been kind of on our radar as a possible place that if he was killed he may have been buried there,” said Detective Gardiner. “By police standards there’s no probable cause to believe it is somebody,” said Gardiner. “It’s a place of interest but not enough for me to get a search warrant.”

Green has received consent to dig up the floor in search of Hitchcock only if she pays to replace it, so she’s hosting a fundraising charity chicken dinner at the Eagles Lodge on March 20th, 2016 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.  More information can be found on Green’s Facebook group, Benefit Dinner/Silent Auction for Richard Hitchcock.  There is also a GoFundMe page.

If you have any information regarding the disappearance of Richard Hitchcock, all tips can be made anonymously and directed to the Allegan County Sheriff's Department at (269) 673-0500.

Additional case information is posted on a Facebook group where you can send in tips and contact Hitchcock's family with any other information.