The family of a surfer who went missing more than a year ago from the Hawaiian island of Oahu are hoping national attention will help to locate him.
Robby Gallagher moved from San Diego to Hawaii after college to pursue his passion for surfing and found a job working for the same company as his Colorado-based brother Brian.
“He was an incredible swimmer, an insane surfer, and most of all, he just loved the ocean,” Brian Gallagher told Dateline.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, Robby’s mental health suffered as he was unable to head out to the ocean during the state’s strict lockdown.
Robby’s mother Cathy Gallagher told Dateline the family tried to get help for him.
“But he told us that ‘the ocean is my therapy,’” Ms Gallagher said.
“And that he just wanted to be back surfing again.”
Regular phone calls with the family stopped suddenly on 31 October.
Brian and Cathy tried to arrange to travel to Hawaii to check on him, but were delayed waiting for Covid tests.
Once Cathy Gallagher arrived, she was told Brian had been spotted acting erratically and was taken by police to Kahuku Medical Center on Oahu.
He left before being treated and was later seen trying to gain entry to a house near the hospital. His fins were found at the house, confirming in the family’s mind that he had been there.
His flatmates hadn’t seen him and his phone was picked up by a passerby about 20 miles from the medical centre.
They filed a missing person report and have since started a Facebook page dedicated to finding Robby.
Several Oahu residents have reported unconfirmed sightings of Robby to the page, and Cathy says she is extremely grateful for the support of the island’s community.
“There’s a chance he’s not here with us anymore,” Ms Gallagher told Dateline.
“But we know he loves us, he knows we love him. I’ll keep praying he’s still alive. And just keep searching until we know otherwise.”
Robby is described as being 6’1” (185cms) and weighs about 170 pounds (77kgs). He has dark dirty blonde hair and blue eyes.
Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers on 808 955 8300 or www.honolulucrimestoppers.org.
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