Cape Coral man vanishes; police calling it suspicious

Reporter: Justin Kase Writer: Carolina Guzman
Published: Updated:

A 56-year-old man has vanished, and police are calling his disappearance suspicious. Thursday morning a heavy police presence was seen at the man’s Cape Coral apartment.

Cape Coral Police said no one has seen or heard from Barry James Schmalbach in six days.

Police are calling this suspicious because they said when someone disappears, a trail of clues is normally left behind, but they haven’t found any in this case yet.

Schmalbach was last seen in Cape Coral along the 1800 block of Beach Parkway on Thursday, around 11 p.m.

The police report said Schmalbach and his boyfriend got into an argument while at Cruiser’s Lounge, a day before his disappearance.

“Friends and family are concerned because this is abnormal for him to not be in contact with anyone for this length of time,” Cape Coral Public Affairs officer Brandon Sancho said.

His friends went to check on him on July 21, and then the police got involved the following day.

“Give me a call. I need your help. I need to get rid of this (expletive) idiot. I can’t take it anymore.”

Those are the last words friends heard from Schmalbach before he disappeared last week.

Schmalbach’s friends said he sounded upset, so they went to his Cape Coral home and found it a mess.

Schmalbach’s friends told WINK News that they believe he needed their help breaking up with his boyfriend, and more specifically, kicking him out of Schmalbach’s apartment.

That’s the last time Schmalbach’s friends heard from him, and they said that’s just one of a number of red flags they’re seeing that have them concerned for Schmalbach’s safety.

Friends describe Schmalbach as loving, very giving and willing to give you the shirt off his back. The last time they heard from him was one week ago when he needed their help with the breakup.

“He just called me and said, ‘Miguel, can you come help me? I need to get this idiot out of my house. I can’t take this anymore,'” said Miguel Blanco, friend of Schmalbach.

Two days later, Blanco and his husband Tom Wilson went to Schmalbach’s home.

They explained that they have a key to his apartment since Schmalbach has previously had a heart attack.

When they went inside, no one answered.

“The apartment was very messy, which is highly unusual for Barry because he’s a very neat-freak-type person,” Wilson said. “All the lights were on, every room. That’s not Barry as well. He typically sits basically in the dark. And I just felt uneven, or uneasy when I was in there. Just something wasn’t right.”

Schmalbach’s friends pointed out to police that his Jeep wasn’t in the parking lot Friday, but it was back there Saturday without Schmalbach.

“His vehicle was there, which was always pristine and clean, but it was covered with mud on the sides, very sandy in the back of the vehicle. The police noticed the doors were unlocked, which there again, highly unusual,” Wilson said.

Neighbors told WINK News that they heard someone walking around inside, but no one ever answered.

Schmalbach’s friends also explained that the limited interaction they’ve had with his boyfriend sent up more red flags.

“On Saturday morning, Christopher was texting Miguel, sharing screenshots of supposed conversations between he and Barry. At that moment, we know something was wrong because the comments were not Barry, nothing that Barry would say,” Wilson said.

And Schmalbach’s friends said he’s never gone more than a day without speaking with loved ones.

“He constantly texted with family. They have a group message, and they didn’t hear from him. So, when I got in contact with them, they told me they haven’t heard from him. I really got concerned, too, right there,” Blanco said.

In a report from the Cape Coral Police Department, investigators noted that they discovered that Schmalbach’s boyfriend, Christopher Davis, gave them false information about himself.

Police later discovered that Davis has active arrest warrants out of South Carolina and Georgia.

However, they say neither appears to be extraditable.

If you know anything about Schmalbach, or his disappearance, call the Cape Coral Police Department.

You can also report anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-780-TIPS.

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