Keith Anderson, 63, of Anacortes, WA, went missing on January 6, 2010. He left his family home to meet an acquaintance and was never heard from again. Keith is the father of Jake Anderson, a crew member aboard the F/V Northwestern on the Discovery Channel program “Deadliest Catch.” Viewers of the program watched as Jake received the news while out at sea during the 2010 fishing season.
Keith is a retired high school counselor who held a doctorate in psychology. Former students recall he was a kind generous man, and many of them state that they stayed in school because of Keith. In addition, Keith has four children of his own, one son and three daughters (his fourth daughter, Chelsea, passed away in 2009 at age 37).
On January 6, 2010, Keith met his brother Chris for coffee in the morning, and spent the day doing chores and errands, including moving a washer and dryer for one of his daughters. Past injuries had unfortunately left Keith with a dependence on prescription painkillers, and he left home around 4:30 p.m. that day to meet a friend to purchase a supply of Oxycontin. Normally the round trip took three to four hours. Keith met his contact in the Arlington, WA, area about 120 miles from the family’s home. An acquaintance of Keith’s thought he saw him in Sultan, WA, that evening.
When Keith did not return home that night, his family immediately began to worry, since he had never spent a night away from Donna, his wife of 43 years, except when he had worked in Alaska. Worry turned to fear when Keith’s cell phone was found in the mud near the family home. Family members say Keith had around $500 with him when he left the house. Keith’s son Jake was due to return to Alaska for the winter fishing season on January 7, and Keith never would have missed the chance to say goodbye before Jake left.
Police spoke to the man that Keith was meeting, who said that they completed their transaction and he dropped Keith off at a grocery store parking lot. There was no mention about the location of Keith’s truck, whether it was parked in the lot or elsewhere.
On January 16, Keith’s white Ford Ranger pickup truck was found abandoned 11 miles up Sauk Prairie Road, a logging road northwest of Darrington. The truck was stuck between two logs with the transmission burned out. It appeared that someone had tried to dig the truck out. The truck was locked and the keys were inside. Darrington is in the opposite direction from Sultan. Search and rescue units have repeatedly searched the area where the truck was found but no clues have been discovered. There was no evidence of foul play or suicide in the truck's vicinity.
Keith was a marathon runner and possessed survival skills; if he had been stranded due to car trouble, his family and friends say he would have been able to find his way out of the area. Although he had a dependence on Oxycontin, Keith understood the effects of the drug and never medicated himself until he was safely at home. A logger who worked in the area stated that the only reason anyone would go that far up that particular road would be to hide a vehicle.
The police investigation officially ended on January 22 when all leads had been exhausted, although the case is still open. A small amount of blood was found in the vehicle, but police did not test the blood until Anderson’s family put pressure on them. Keith’s son Jake Anderson believes that his father was murdered, since there are rumors that the last person claiming to see Keith alive also bragged about killing him. The family has hired a private detective to look into the case.
Another man, Brock Holmes, went missing from the Sultan area in October 2009. It is unknown if there is any link between the two cases.
Keith Arthur Anderson was 63 years old at the time of his disappearance. He is approximately 5’4” tall and weighs around 130 lbs. He has gray hair, blue eyes, a beard, and wears glasses. He has a tattoo of an eagle on his left arm and another tattoo on his right shoulder. His date of birth is 9/02/1947. He was wearing brown work boots, a blue coat, and a gold neck chain with an anchor pendant. He had no other belongings with him, not even his cell phone. In addition to chronic pain, Keith suffered from depression, particularly following the death of his daughter Chelsea in 2009. It is possible that Keith felt added pressure as the one-year anniversary of Chelsea’s death approached. Chelsea suffered from rheumatoid arthritis and passed away from pneumonia. Keith was one of Chelsea’s primary caregivers and felt responsible for her death.
If you have any information about Keith’s disappearance, please contact the Anacortes Police Department at 360/293-4684.
UPDATE: Human bones found by a hiker in a remote area of Skagit County, Washington, were positively identified in late June as the remains of Keith Anderson. The remains were located about a mile from where Keith's truck was found. No cause of death has been announced.