Missing Coastie turns up after three-month absence

HONOLULU – Petty Officer First Class Russell Matthews returned home Sunday night after vanishing more than three months ago and being declared a missing person. Incoherent and in need of medical attention, he was taken to Castle Medical Center here, where his command confirmed his identity.

A 15-year Coast Guard veteran, the 36-year-old Matthews first disappeared in October, when his abandoned car was found by police at Kaena Point, described as a “remote area of Oahu.” His disappearance triggered a large search involving the Coast Guard, Navy, state and local authorities, and covered some 10,000 square miles before the search was called off on Dec. 13.

Coast Guard spokesman Lt. Gene Maestas told the AP that this kind of situation is very unusual. “This is not the norm for the Coast Guard,” he said. “In my 28-year career in the Coast Guard, I have never come across a case like this.”

Matthews is an aviation survial technician and has been assigned to Hawaii since 2007.

For a full report on the case, including information on Matthews’ tragic loss of his wife last year, you can watch this video from local news station KITV: