Thursday, December 9, 2004

Hiker’s wife asks Hilo
court to rule him dead

HILO » The estranged wife of an Indiana man who disappeared on the Big Island last year is asking the court to declare him legally dead.

Tamara Annette Lynch has not heard from Timothy J. Lynch since June 1, 2003, according to a petition filed last week in Circuit Court.

The filing said Lynch worked as manager of the Buehler's Buy-Low grocery store in Newburgh, Ind., and rarely missed work. But he did not show up June 9, 2003, eight days after flying to Hawaii for a vacation.

Tamara Lynch filed a missing-person report with the Warrick County Police Department in Indiana.

By June 12, she was "extremely anxious and upset" about her estranged husband's welfare, so she checked his answering machine using a code she knew from before the separation. On it were messages from the Royal Kona Resort asking when Lynch planned to check out and take care of his bill.

She supplied the information to police, who found out Lynch had flown to Hawaii, rented a car and checked into the hotel. Police found Lynch's car at the Evansville, Ind., airport and learned that he had not used his June 6 return ticket.

Police on the Big Island entered Lynch's hotel room and said he had left with some personal items.

Officials at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park found Lynch's rental car in the park.

Lynch's father, Robert Lynch of Norwalk, Ohio, told the Hawaii Tribune-Herald he refuses to participate in efforts to have his son declared dead.

Robert Lynch said he thinks their son either planned his own disappearance because of his "dirty" divorce or met with foul play by someone who stole his identity and then traveled to Hawaii to fake his death.

"It seems odd to me and also to just about everybody else that he would take his ticket and his travel orders with him from the hotel on a side trip," he said.

He said too many questions remain unanswered about his son's disappearance.

"Every day, we pray for some wisdom to find Tim, to know where he is, how he is and what he is," he said. "If we knew if he was passed on, it would be a relief. But every day we live with this, 24 hours a day and seven days a week."

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