Burlington mom heads to California after son's mysterious disappearance

The 23-year-old went missing in a bizarre story that includes cryptic phone messages and a surprise baptism.

The mystery of the missing Burlington man: a car crash, strange messages and a baptism

Ryan Robichaud, 23, of Burlington, Ontario has been missing since January in a bizarre case that involves a car crash and phone calls talking about "voices." Next week, his mom is headed to California to look for him. (Tracy Robichaud)

The mother of Ryan Robichaud is heading to California next week to scour areas of Orange County with  the help of dozens of local volunteers hoping to find her son.

Tracy Robichaud of Burlington, Ont. will hit the ground there on Tuesday to look for 23-year-old Ryan, who went missing after a series of bizarre incidents in January.

Tracy believes Ryan has an undiagnosed head injury, or post-traumatic stress disorder, after his car hit a tree in Lowville on Dec. 31.

Since then, Ryan has called her from Boston and Los Angeles, telling her that voices were guiding him, and that he didn't know how he got from one coast to another.

I reached out to her and said "I'll pray for your son. I'll put up flyers."- Jeanene Jones, search volunteer in Huntington Beach

While in L.A., he also appeared to be the victim of identity theft, with surveillance footage showing a number of purchases made with his credit card by people who weren't him.

The search will start in Huntington Beach, where Ryan was baptized at Huntington Beach First Christian Church (FCC) in February, looking weathered and carrying only a roll-up mat.

Jeanene Jones, a FCC member, is rallying people for next week's search. The day she heard Ryan's story, she said, she prayed for her own son's well being, particularly when it came to him driving. The next morning, her son was in a serious car crash himself but received only minor injuries.

Jones acted quickly.

"I reached out to her and said 'I'll pray for your son. I'll put up flyers.'"

Jones said local residents hope to do a 100-person search of the area where Ryan is believed to be homeless.

A Montreal man has volunteered to pay for Tracy's flight, said her mom, Teresa Geldart. Another volunteer is arranging accommodations for Tracy and her son Jonathan, and set up a command post in his home.

(Tracy Robichaud)

"She's got everything covered," Geldart said. "All they have to do is find my grandson."

'It could be any of our sons'

The case has drawn the interest of many Huntington Beach residents who want to help, she said.

"It could be any of our sons that this could happen to."

The Westminster police department is investigating in Orange County. The cross-border nature of the case takes it out of the hands of Halton Police, said Const. Daniel Jaworski. But Halton police have contacted Tracy Robichaud this week.

"We'll be reaching out to a number of our partners, including some U.S. police agencies and Canada Border Services, to see what they need and what we can provide," Jaworski said. And "we can make sure she has support from our end."

"This is a very unique circumstance," he said. "When you have circumstances as unique as these, the answer isn't sometimes as easy to find as we hoped."