Missouri family worries missing Army vet may be in the Great Smokies


O’FALLON, Mo. (WATE) – A Missouri family is crying out for help to all of East Tennessee as they hope someone can help bring back their missing adult son.

Caleb Rios, 26, was last seen Tuesday, Oct. 1 in the 1600 block of Rembrandt Drive in St. Charles County, Missouri. St. Charles County Police issuing an Endangered Missing Person Advisory because family members say Caleb has expressed suicidal thoughts and has a handgun.

Investigators say Caleb is driving a gray 2008 Saturn VUE with a Texas license plate: MCK-1368.

Loved ones say Caleb is always smiling, kind and would do anything in the world for a stranger.

“That’s why it’s so bizarre for us for any of this to happen because this is not in his personality,” said Caleb Rios’ father, Eric Rios.

Wednesday marked the ninth day the 26-year-old has been missing.

“We’re numb. Numb is the best word to use. You can only cry so much, you can only stress so much. At some point you become desensitized to the emotions of ‘what if,'” said Rios.

The family says no one has seen Caleb, no one has heard from him and something triggered Caleb to vanish, they just don’t know what it is.

“Not knowing is the hardest part of this whole thing because you live every day just wondering, ‘Am I going to get the call today,'” added Rios.

Caleb served active duty in the U.S. Army for more than six years and is in the Army Reserves now.

“I think the transition from military life to civilian life has been an extreme challenge for him because he has not been able to really figure out what he wants to do,” said Rios.

(Photo courtesy of Rios family)

He says Caleb is also going through a divorce and this last month, they noticed he had been sleeping more.

Soon after Caleb went missing, Rios says they noticed some red flags.

“There were a bunch of pages that were open about suicide. How to commit suicide, how to overdose on this, how to overdose on that, what do I have to do to go to heaven. So that was one red flag, then I had a gut feeling, let’s go check the gun safe and one of the firearms was gone and then he also took some cash out of the safe and then just disappeared,” his father said.

Rios says part of the search for Caleb counting national parks, including the Great Smoky Mountains National Park; as well as the Glacier mountains and the Rocky mountains – due to Caleb’s internet search history.

“It’s hard for us to tell where he would’ve gone or why he would’ve gone there just because we have no idea. He doesn’t know anybody, that we know of, in those areas.”

Loved ones say park rangers in the Smokies, along with other national parks, have been alerted.

“Anything can help because the more prayer, the better,” said Rios.

While they wait, the Rios family wants all of us in East Tennessee to be on the lookout for Caleb.

“Caleb, your whole family loves you. You have a whole nation of people who love you, from all over the world people are praying for you, hundreds of thousands of people. We just want you to come home,” said Rios.

How you can help

Be on the lookout for the vehicle — a gray 2008 Saturn VUE with a Texas license plate: MCK-1368. If you see Caleb, call 911 or Det. Knobbe with the St. Charles County Police Department at 636-949-7900 ext. 4465.


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