Family of missing Bradenton soldier wants answers

  • 1

BRADENTON, FL. - Heartache and worry for a Bradenton family.  Their son, a US Army soldier  and combat veteran has been missing for 45 days.

"Tomorrow is going to be our two-year wedding anniversary," said Lacey Van Kuiken.  She gets emotional when speaking about her missing husband and high school sweetheart Mason.

"I was texting him and he wouldn't text me back, I was calling him and I didn't get anything, that's when I began calling around and trying to get some information, if anyone seen him or heard anything," said Lacey.

But that was back on March 14th and days later they got the disturbing news.  "We got a late night call from his Captain who was very apologetic.  And said he couldn't believe that no one had called us to tell us, he was missing and they pretty much told us they didn't have the resources to look for these kids," said Mason's mom Dru Love.

Mason is 22 years old and had just finished his 2nd combat tour in Afghanistan.  He is stationed at Ft. Carson, Colorado and had recently been placed on PTSD watch.

But the he Van Kuiken's says the details about their son's disappearance seem strange.  "He left Colorado and went to Ft. Hood in Texas to visit his best friend in the Army there and was on his way back to Colorado.  But he was arrested in a small town Texas, he was pulled over for a traffic violation and had guns he didn't have the appropriate permits for," said Love.

After being released on bail, Mason was taken to an ATM and then to a bus station in San Angelo where he was last seen.

"We don't know if he's under a bridge, he's dead or if he just went to underground somewhere," said Mason's dad Michael.

But the situation isn't uncommon for someone suffering from PTSD.

"It's not unusual for one of them to wake up, get showered, say he's going to work and never be seen again," said Linda Craig.

Craig, also has a son who's suffering from PTSD. She's the director at Manasota Operation Troop Support, an organization that tries to help deployed troops with local ties.

"I asked a man with PTSD, should we leave him alone or should we go after him.  He said no you have to find him and save him, " said Craig.

That's what Mason's family says they are trying very hard to do. They have reached out to several law enforcement agencies in search for Mason

"I'm hoping that nothing has happened because I do want him back," said Lacey.

The family also reached out to area hospital and morgues.