Nearly a month has passed since Zachary Pruitt was last seen or heard from and his family told Dateline they are worried and just want him home safe.
“Days turned into weeks and we just can’t believe he’s been missing this long,” Zachary’s twin sister, Rikki Pruitt, told Dateline. “We just want to know that he’s OK.”
The 25-year-old, who lives in Chatham, Virginia, was last seen on July 28, 2020, at the Kwik Shop gas station in Dry Fork, Virginia, according to a news release issued by the Pittsylvania County Sheriff’s Office.
“It’s a small town and he went to that gas station often so they know him,” Rikki said. “The cashier said he came in, bought a Monster energy drink and left. Nothing out of the ordinary.”
That afternoon was the last confirmed sighting of Zachary.
Zachary’s vehicle, a dark gray 2006 Pontiac G6, is also missing. The car has a yellow Virginia license plate #4876UT and the “Don’t tread on me” logo.
Zachary’s twin sister, Rikki, who lives in Florida, told Dateline their family knew something was wrong when he didn’t show up for work later that week and failed to contact his grandmother as he usually does.
“It’s just not the norm for him,” Rikki said. “Even if he took off for a couple days, he would make contact with one of us. But it’s been too long. He would never go this long.”
Rikki said her brother had been working in construction and was last seen at work on Monday, July 27. She added that he didn’t have to work the next day, but texted his boss and said he’d be back to work on Wednesday. He never showed up.
His family grew increasingly concerned when he didn’t call or visit his grandmother, who lives down the street from him.
“They’re very close,” Rikki said. “He always calls to check on her and is always helping her around the house. Especially since our grandfather died. He’s just always there to help her.”
On Friday, July 31, Zachary’s family called the authorities to perform a welfare check at his house and said they learned he had left behind his cell phone and his wallet, which contained his ID, bank card and cash.
Rikki and their older sister, Krista, who lives in North Carolina, traveled to Virginia shortly after to help search for their brother and hang fliers around the area. Rikki said even doing that was more difficult due to the pandemic.
“It’s just been really tough,” Rikki said. “After all that we’ve been going through, now our brother is missing. And we’ve done all we can, so now we’re just waiting. Waiting for some good news.”
Rikki told Dateline she doesn’t know where her brother could be or what could have happened. They searched sections of rural land where Rikki said he sometimes goes fishing, but there was no sign of him.
She added that in the days and weeks leading up to his disappearance, Zachary seemed happy. He had been to the beach in North Carolina to visit Krista and he FaceTimed with Rikki and her children – eager to say hi to his nieces.
Rikki said she also doesn’t believe anyone would want to hurt Zachary.
“Everyone we’ve talked to has nothing but good things to say about him,” Rikki said. “People who live in the area would come up to us – and people sent us messages on social media – just saying how great he is and how he’s always willing to help.”
Investigator Anthony Rouse with the Pittsylvania County Sheriff’s Office told Dateline Zachary’s disappearance is being actively investigated but declined to give additional details.
Rikki told Dateline their family hopes to have answers soon and encourages anyone with information to call authorities.
They’ve set up the “Help Find Zachary Pruitt” Facebook group to help gather information from anyone who might have seen or talked to Zachary recently.
“Right now we’re just waiting and it’s hard,” Rikki said. “We miss him and we just want him home safe.”
Zachary is described as being 5’8” tall, weighing 190 pounds and has brown hair and blue eyes. He has a deer tattoo on his left leg, numbers on his right shoulder, and various other tattoos. Rikki said he wears glasses and always wears a baseball cap.