Pastor finds father after 38 year search
RADCLIFF, KY (WAVE) - It's an unbelievable story after a Radcliff minister found his father safe in Florida after he went missing 38 years ago.
Pastor Jimmy Squires returned to Radcliff Tuesday afternoon after spending more than a week in the Sunshine State. Squires couldn't stop smiling and crying tears of joy. Now, he knows his father, 82-year-old Bobby Hudson Squires, is alive.
"I'm emotional," Pastor Squires said, "Because we've been looking for him for 38 years."
The pastor's father went missing in 1975. One year later, his family got a tip that he was living in Alabama, but by the time the family got there, he was gone.
Bobby Squires, according to homeless advocates in Florida, had a mental breakdown in 1975. That's when he left his wife and children without a trace.
Over the years, Pastor Jimmy's faith has been tested in failed searches for his father. Then, this September 7, the family enlisted a search firm that they heard about on the Internet, Wisconsin Family Finders. The next day? The family said WFF got results. The Wisconsin company found a 2010 mug shot of Bobby Squires, a homeless man arrested in Tampa, Florida for having an open container of alcohol.
Pastor Jimmy and his grandson Elijah, 18, headed south. As the duo searched homeless shelters and camps, a TV station there, Bay News 9 shared their story and callers lit up the phone lines. People living in nearby Bradenton, Florida saw Bobby on a white bike.
Elijah remembered, "A lot of people were like, yeah we know him, and there were so many different descriptions of him."
But as the days passed, no bike and no Bobby. The pastor was ready to stop the search on Sunday until his wife Marty told him during a call from Kentucky, she had a dream that Bobby was found. She begged her husband to keep looking.
Marty recalled what she told her husband, "Stay on the trail, you know the Bible says our footsteps are ordered by the Lord and I just felt the footsteps were leading for that moment."
Pastor and his grandson were getting ready to do a Face Time update with friends and family when they saw the white bike shoot right past them.
Elijah said, "My heart dropped and we saw him go by and I had to do a double take!"
The pastor calmly started a conversation with his long lost father. "I said, well I know all about you, I've been trailing you to California and Alabama and Florida and I've been trailing you for 38 years," he continued, "and I started telling him things he would only know and then I said, well I'm your son and he started crying and from there I just said, well dad we love you."
As the reunion was happening in Florida, everyone at the church watched it unfold live.
The pastor said, "I said dad, do you want to talk to Marty? And he said yeah, so she was Face Time on the iPhone and my grandson Elijah held it and he (father) could see her."
Pastor Jimmy said, "It was like victory, I didn't get to bring him home, but we knew he wasn't dead and he was still alive and it meant a lot to our family."
The pastor tried to get his father to come home with him, but Bobby didn't want to leave the life he's become accustomed to. Homeless advocates say that's not a surprise since he's lived so much of his life as a homeless man. The entire family plans to go to Florida at Christmas to see Bobby. They told him if he needs anything, he has their number and they will always be there for him.
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