Beth Lund will never forget the last time she talked to her 19-year-old son Ben Lund — six years ago.
He was calling from Killeen, where he lived, to let his parents Beth and Craig know his new cell phone number. They were putting a little parental pressure on him to pay his car payment so it wasn’t the most pleasant of phone calls for either side.
Beth thought her son sounded “different,” but he said nothing was wrong.
Tragically, that the was the last time Beth heard her son’s voice.
Ben, an Elkhart High School graduate who at one time played high school football, has been missing since he disappeared in Killeen between June 13 and 17, 2005.
Beth tried to call Ben about a week after their last phone call but all she got was his answering machine. She thought he was mad about their prior conversation.
She kept calling, he didn’t answer.
In early July 2005, a friend of Ben’s called the Lunds to tell them that the city towed Ben’s 1999 Nissan Sentra for road work. The car had been sitting on Wood Street in Killeen for two weeks.
“I regret that I didn’t call him after that last time he called us — I waited a week. That’s something you don’t get over,” Beth said.
The Lunds first tried to file a missing person case but the police didn’t believe he was missing. After hiring private investigators, one of them convinced the police that Ben would not have left his car and made the missing persons case official. His car was examined by police detectives but no sign of foul play or evidence except for a bag of clothes found in the car.
“For the first couple of years, especially the first six months, I was shattered. I could hardly eat or sleep,” Beth said.
Ben was last sighted withdrawing money from First National Bank at the Harker Heights H-E-B between June 13-17, 2005, according to detectives. He also was seen at a party on Wood Street in Killeen in mid-June, the same street where he car was left abandoned.
In February 2006, a non-profit search organization called Texas Equusearch conducted an extensive search in the Wood Avenue Apartment area in Killeen where he had last been seen. The organization used a remote-controlled model plane to take low-flying pictures of the area. Beth and the police looked at more than 200 photos without finding signs of shoes, clothing, etc. Beth hopes new information may make another search possible in the future.
The CUE Center for Missing Persons Road to Remember Tour sponsored a “Find Ben Lund” Awareness Rally in 2009.
For Beth and her family, including Ben’s younger sister Barbara who graduated from high school last year, life has not been easy.
“I want my son to be real — it feels like he’s a shadow because of not knowing. I want him to be home. It doesn’t ever leave you — you go on with your normal life — laugh and have your friends — but it never goes away. And you don’t want it to go away until you find out what happened,” Beth said.
For Beth, memories of her son as a child playing in his Superman costume and pajamas are always there.
“He would wear his Superman pajamas day and night. If we didn’t have a cape for him to wear, we put a dish towel around his neck,” Beth recalled.
For now, the Lunds hold on to hope, praying for a break in his missing persons case.
Anyone with information about Ben Lund’s case should contact the Killeen Police Department.
This story was orginally published in August 2009, but updated for the rally set for Monday, Oct. 24, 2011.