SHAW AIR FORCE BASE -- A Charlotte family is hoping and praying for the safe return of their missing son, an Air Force captain who was supposed to visit home for Christmas.
Virginia Williams hasn’t heard from her brother, Capt. Robby Williams, since Thanksgiving while in person and in early December by phone.
"He was supposed to come home for Christmas,” Williams said. “It feels like he vanished.”
Williams says her brother mentioned he had already bought everyone presents and was excited to come home.
Williams is from Charlotte. He graduated from East Mecklenburg High School and enlisted in the Air Force in 2006. He spent time overseas and has been stationed at Shaw Air Force Base in Sumter, S.C. for about a year.
Relatives say he last reported for duty Dec. 18. He was supposed to come back to base Dec. 23 but never arrived. And, he never walked past the American flag outside the family's front door for Christmas.
"When we really started to worry was Christmas, because my brother loves Christmas, and he really wouldn't miss a Christmas with my mom, especially being that he's back stateside,” Williams said. "None of this is like him at all."
That is why the family went to Columbia, where Williams lives, right after Christmas. They handed out dozens of missing person flyers with Williams’ picture on it, plus a description of the vehicle he was driving, a black 2013 Jeep Wrangler with SC license plate ITC 701.
So far the family says it has gotten no solid leads from flyers or the location of jeep.
"We went to gas stations, we hung up flyers there. People we just saw, we went and handed them a flyer -- to people, anybody,” said Williams.
The Air Force says it's looking for Williams. So is the Richland County Sheriff’s Office. County officials say they are following leads but do not suspect foul play.
The family does not think Williams deserted his military duties.
"I know something is wrong,” Williams said.
Friends and relatives might go back to Columbia this weekend to search again if they don’t hear from Williams.
"It's devastating. No sleep, it's just like, you know, always wondering where he's at,” Williams said.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Richland County Sheriff’s Office at (803) 576-3000.