A multi-state search continues for Shawn Anthony Eubanks, a 20-year-old combat veteran from Mount Airy who has been missing for over a month.
Detectives from the Surry County Sheriff’s Office are working with the state police in Louisiana, where Eubanks had gone with his girlfriend looking for work, said Brent Trivette, the Surry detective working the case.
Eubanks, who reportedly suffered multiple concussions during his service, spoke with his mother on the telephone on June 12, and used a debit card that day in Kenner, La.
On June 13, a Louisiana interstate license plate reader recorded the plate on his borrowed truck heading west towards Texas.
No one has seen or heard from him since.
Eubanks father, Gary Carico, filed a missing persons report with the Surry County Sheriff’s Office on July 14.
“There’s no indication of foul play,” Trivette said. “Everything looks like he maybe doesn’t want to be found.”
Information entered into the National Crime Information Center will alert law officers if Eubanks or his vehicle show up.
“He could easily hide if he doesn’t get into any trouble,” Trivette said. “If anybody has contact it will be discovered.”
Trivette filed court orders to obtain Eubank’s phone and bank records on Thursday.
“I’m literally concerned about his well-being,” said Trivette, who commented that this case is unusual because most missing persons are found within a week and in this area.
Eubanks parents contacted the Louisiana governor to get help with the search.
“It’s like he vanished off the face of the earth,” Carico said. “I really don’t know what in the world has happened to him.”
The trouble started before Eubanks disappeared, he said.
Described as once upbeat and “happy-go-lucky,” Eubanks had joined the U.S. Army after attending North Surry High School.
While deployed in Afghanistan, “he seemed ok,” Carico said, despite receiving five to seven concussions, but had struggled since returning home and living with his parents in Mount Airy.
“He hadn’t been the same since he got back,” Carico said.
He was depressed, couldn’t find work or keep appointments.
“Little things would go wrong and he’d start saying he wasn’t worth anything,” Carico said. “It was totally uncharacteristic.”
Then he attempted suicide.
“He tried to cut his wrists, and then tried to sew himself up,” said Carico. Eubanks had left a letter telling his parents not to try to resucitate him.
In September of 2014, he headed to Seattle to study commercial diving at the Divers Institute of Technology. There he met a girl.
But in March, things started to fall apart.
“He had a spell out there,” Carico said. “I got a call that said he’d walked away from everything in the middle of the night. They found him three or four days later, lying on a sidewalk. He had kidney failure and hadn’t eaten or drunk anything. He had no recollection of what really happened.”
The Army wasn’t aware of his condition, Carico said.
“They must have asked him the wrong questions,” Carico said. “They let him fall through the cracks.”
Eubanks headed to Louisiana to join his girlfriend, who had graduated from the Divers Institute, and the pair looked for work.
They had a falling out, and she thought he had left for Alabama.
Carico said that during the June 12 telephone conversation, Eubanks had a lead on a job, but that if he couldn’t find one he was going to kill himself.
“You get a gut feeling. It doesn’t seem good to me,” Carico said. “If I had the means I’d already be down there.”
Terri Flagg can be reached at 415-4734.