Families Of Men Missing Since Rocklahoma Wait For Answers

Monday, June 8th 2015, 6:48 pm
By: Tess Maune

The search has ended for two best friends who disappeared nearly two weeks ago on their drive home from Oklahoma. It's not the ending anyone hoped for: the bodies of Cody Parrick and Ben Baber were found in Lake Eufaula.

Their families say they still have many questions.

As the water at Onapa Boat ramp receded, a final clue in the two-week search for Ben Baber and Cody Parrick surfaced.

"It was very hard, even as the time goes by, it's still hard," said Julie Parrick, Cody's stepmother.

Parrick said the two 20-year-old best friends were thought to be headed home the night of May 22nd. They had been to the Rocklahoma concert in Pryor that night and were driving back down to Okmulgee, where they lived - but they never made it.

Their disappearance sparked a search that stretched across three counties. Multiple law enforcement agencies and volunteers looked for the two men by boat, foot and air.

"People haven't stopped for these two weeks, it hasn't just been our family, it's been strangers and friends and people from everywhere that really care about Ben and Cody and they have been with us through everything and we just can't tell you how much we appreciate that," Julie said. "We have so appreciated how everyone has spread the story and kind words that have come in from Canada, Italy...it's amazing how much people care, care about us, care about Cody and Ben."

On Saturday, Cody's mom was on the ground in Mayes County searching for her son and his friend. It was day 10 by then, and Greta Richards was heartbroken, but still optimistic.

"I'm tired and frustrated and sad, just overwhelmingly sad, but hopeful," said Cody's mother, Greta Richards.

6/8/2015 Related Story: Bodies Of Men Missing After Rocklahoma Recovered In McIntosh County

A day later, a little before 8 o'clock Sunday night, someone spotted the minivan Cody and Ben were driving.

It was submerged in an area of Lake Eufaula about five miles south of Interstate 40, where they would have turned to get to Okmulgee, and about 75 miles from where search teams were actively looking for the boys.

Their bodies were still inside the van.

"We want to know exactly what happened, but, of course, right now the investigation's going on and we're waiting to hear," Parrick said.

And as they wait, they remember a young man, with dreams of one day becoming a preacher: their sweet, funny, always smiling, Cody.

"He could tell you that Bible from front to back," said Shawna Vernon, Cody's aunt.

6/6/2015 Related Story: Mother Of Missing Rocklahoma Man Keeping Hopes Alive

"Cody was an amazing young man, and I could tell you a thousand wonderful things about him," his stepmother said.

OHP said foul play is unlikely, but said the case is still an open investigation.

The bodies have been sent to the Medical Examiner's Office.

We did reach out to Ben's family, but they said they're just not ready to talk with media.