Loved ones post flyers in search of missing father of two

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Every parent's worst fear has become a reality for one Mid-South mom after her son disappeared.

Father of two Howard Barnett, 38, hasn't been seen or heard from in four days.

Police tell the family they’re doing all they can.

But so far, no City Watch Alert has been issued, and loved ones say they need answers.

As each passing day fades away, so does a little piece of the hope they're desperately clinging onto.

"He wouldn’t just leave his girls," said Barnett's sister, Tracie. "This is not like him, this is so out of the norm for him."

Barnett's little girls – just 6 and 7 years old – still don’t know their dad hasn’t been seen or heard from since Tuesday night.

That’s when he called his girlfriend, around 10 p.m., to let her know he was stopping by his cousin's place.

But he never made it home, and calls to his cellphone went unanswered.

"He didn’t answer, but his phone was ringing. He just never answered," said Rickayla Hunter.

Hunter and Barnett are supposed to celebrate their one-year anniversary next month.

"I just miss him," she said.

Dozens of family and friends are spending their Saturday passing out flyers in nearly 100-degree temperatures, waiting to find someone who saw something.

"This is day four. It’s hot out here. His family and friends got up early this morning to get out here in this heat, and that says a lot," Tracie Barnett said. "He’s loved by everybody."

He's described as a family man – close to his parents and siblings and known to call and FaceTime them several times a day.

"That’s a good man, a loving father, he’s a great brother," said family friend Kimberly Barnes. "We need him. He’s a necessity to this family, he’s a rock to this family. The only thing we’re asking for is some closure. Bring us some closure."

For his mother, Betty, every second that phone doesn’t ring makes it harder to hold out hope.

"Just give us a phone call and let us know he’s OK," she said. "That’s all I want. ... He would never do this, never, never. All this long time, he’s going to call his mama, he’s going to check on his daddy. That’s for sure. Just bring my child home, please."

If you've seen Barnett or have any idea where he might be, call Memphis Police at 545-COPS.