“It’s not his style not to come home,” Yashema Colbert told Dateline. “He always comes home.”
Yashema’s husband, 47-year-old Kenneth “Brian” Colbert, went missing on December 9, 2022.
“It’s just awful. I don’t want that to happen to anyone,” Yashema said. “I know it is, but it’s just awful.”
Yashema told Dateline that her husband is originally from Chicago but moved to her hometown of Evansville, Indiana, in the ’90s. She said the two met at a gas station 26 years ago. “He was calm,” Yashema said. “Just a nice guy.”
“Once he gets to know you, he talks more,” Yashema said. “He likes everyone.”
According to Yashema, Brian has five children and two stepchildren. Dateline spoke to Yashema’s daughter, Brian’s stepdaughter, De’Ajah Brodie.
De’Ajah told Dateline that she was very close to her stepfather. “He’s a family man,” De’Ajah said. “He likes barbecues and anything we do with our family.”
“I can always say family guy,” De’Ajah said. “He’s a very happy guy. He’s nice to everyone.”
Yashema told Dateline that Brian was with the family on the night of December 8th. She said she last saw her husband when they went to bed and everything was normal.
The next morning, December 9, according to Yashema, Brian got up early to go to work as usual. She was still asleep. “He gets up and leaves at 5,” she said. “I don’t have to start work before 8.”
Yashema told Dateline that Brian worked at Toyota Boshoku in Princeton, Indiana — about 45 minutes from her home in Evansville. “He was a team member,” Yashema said, adding that her husband loved his job. “My husband never misses work,” she said.
Yashema said she texted her husband around 11 a.m. that day. “He asked me if I wanted to see a movie, and then he said, ‘I should have taken the chicken out.’ He had a thing for chicken,” Yashema recalled. “I said, ‘Yeah, I’d go see a movie, but I have some errands to run,’ because we were getting ready for Christmas.”
Because of her plans, Yashema said when she got home around 9:30 p.m., she was surprised to see that her husband wasn’t home yet. “He used to come in — if he ran anywhere, he’d turn on some lights,” she said, but “it was completely black.”
Yashema told Dateline she tried texting her husband and the messages “never got delivered.” She said she then tried calling and Brian’s phone went straight to voicemail. “I tried to have one of my friends call and the same thing happened,” Yashema said. “I tried calling again and the phone just started ringing like it wouldn’t work — there was no voicemail or anything.”
Yashema said she was beginning to worry and accessed her husband’s phone records. “There were no phone calls on the bill, so I went to the text log and there were a couple of numbers there,” she said. Yashema told Dateline she looked up one of the numbers, and she came back as one of Brian’s associates. Yashema told Dateline that Brian was close to this colleague. “He was friends with him for about five years,” she said.
Yashema told Dateline she tried calling the coworker, but the calls went straight to voicemail. She said she then drove to his house. “I said, ‘You know what? I bet he’s at it right now [the coworkers] house’, and you know, ‘they’re probably just hanging out’ or whatever,” she said. But Yashema said when she got to the co-worker’s Princeton home, her husband was nowhere to be found.
Yashema told Dateline that she then returned home hoping that Brian would walk through the door at some point. “I was waiting, I couldn’t sleep,” she said. “I don’t care if he was out with friends or whatever – he always comes home.”
But Brian never came home.
Yashema told Dateline that she was able to reach Brian’s colleagues the next day. According to Yashema, the colleague said that Brian was at his house on the evening of December 9th.”[Brian] told him that he ‘has to go home because he has to work the next day,'” Yashema told Dateline.
Dateline has reached out to Brian’s colleagues but has yet to receive a response.
On December 10, Yashema reported her husband missing to the Evansville Police Department.
On December 19, 2022, the Evansville Police Department reported Brian’s disappearance on their Facebook page. The post said, “Kenneth Brian Colbert was reported missing to the Evansville Police Department on December 10” and “The last time his family had contact with Colbert was on December 9 via text message, but he never came.” home from work. ”
According to the post, “Colbert works in Princeton, IN, and Princeton PD is also aware that he is listed as missing.”
Dateline contacted the Evansville Police Department, who said the Indiana State Police Department is now investigating Brian’s disappearance. Todd Ringle, the Indiana State Police Department’s public information officer, told Dateline that her office “absolutely” doesn’t suspect foul play at this time. Officer Ringle was unable to provide any further details regarding Brian’s disappearance at this time.
Yashema told Dateline she believes her husband ran into foul play. “They kept saying my husband just left,” Yashema said, referring to conversations she had with police. But Yashema said her husband would never do that easily. “Absolutely not. He would never do anything like that,” she said.
Yashema told Dateline that there are several indications that something bad happened to her husband. She said she called her cell phone provider to find out what happened to Brian’s phone and they told her his “sim card was destroyed.”
Brian’s plum-colored Toyota Avalon is also missing. “A £3,000 car doesn’t just disappear right away,” said Brian’s stepdaughter De’Ajah. She told Dateline that her stepfather had recently bought the car, so it didn’t have license plates yet.
De’Ajah told Dateline that because of Brian’s criminal history, she believes the police are not investigating thoroughly. “He’s a family man, he’s not a criminal,” De’Ajah said. “He has a past, but he’s not a criminal. He is human.”
According to De’Ajah, friends and family organized a search party to look for Brian in the Princeton area. “We brought the search together on December 17,” De’Ajah said. She told Dateline they were also supported by the Chaos Divers team.
Dateline spoke to Chaos Divers manager Lindsay Bussick and founder Jacob Grubbs.
“It started as an environmental cleanup,” Lindsay told Dateline of the organization. And then: “Jacob was part of a vehicle recovery operation. At that point, Jacob knew he wanted to do this full-time. He wanted to search for missing relatives who had disappeared with their vehicles.”
Lindsay said the organization has been able to rescue 15 people over the past 15 months.
On Tuesday January 10th they joined the search for Brian. “We’ve told the family to find him if he’s water,” Jacob Grubbs told Dateline. “We started with the last known location, which was at the friends house.”
According to Lindsay, they searched the Wabash River, the White River and some small detention ponds in the Indiana area. She said they were given permission to search a small detention pond at Brian’s place of work – the Toyota Boshuko in Princeton. “Since Brian is familiar with this area, did he go back to work that evening for any reason? Did he forget something?” said Lindsay. “We have found nothing.”
Lindsay and Jacob told Dateline they will keep looking for Brian. “We will not stop looking for Brian until either he is found or the family tells us to stop,” Lindsay said.
Yashema said her family will also never stop searching for answers about her husband’s disappearance. “Our son just turned 10. He’s absolutely devastated,” Yashema said. “His father baked cookies for him. His dad was his sidekick.”
Brian is approximately 5ft 10″ tall with a thin build. He weighs about 165 pounds. and has a tattoo on the right side of his neck. According to his wife, he has several other tattoos including her name Yashema on his ribs. He was last seen wearing light wash jeans, a dark Toyota jacket and a red Chicago hat. He drives a plum-colored 2017 Toyota Avalon, which is also missing.
Anyone with information regarding Brian’s disappearance is asked to contact the Indiana State Police Department at 800-852-3970.