Hourihan was driving a white 1994 Chevy Cavalier similar to the one pictured, with the license plate TARAMAE and a Winnie the Pooh sticker in the left rear passenger window.
Courtesy Fluvanna County Sheriff
"I love you, baby. Have a great day." Those were the last words Tara Hourihan heard from her husband of 14 years, Robert Lee Hourihan, as he prepared to leave for work on Friday, April 8. The 33-year-old Fluvanna County husband and father hasn't been seen or heard from since.
"To know my husband, in my eyes, was to love him," says Tara. "He'd give you the shirt off his back."
The two met at church in Fluvanna when both were 15, and his wife describes an instant attraction. "It was love at first sight," says Tara, choking up.
She says that Hourihan left their house on Shannon Hill Road at around 6:30am the morning of the 8th to commute to his job as an electrician working for the state in Richmond.
His wife says his usual route would have been to follow Shannon Hill Road east directly to I-64. But according to his father, Ricky Hourihan, a witness spotted his car– a 1994 Chevrolet Cavalier with the license plate TARAMAE and a Winnie the Pooh sticker in the left rear window– heading toward Charlottesville on Route 53 around 7:40am. The last call made from Hourihan's phone, his father says, was at 7:41am.
Ricky Hourihan says another witness reports seeing the same car getting off I-64 onto Fifth Street around 5:30pm that evening, but notes, "We don't know if he was driving."
Lt. David Wells of the Fluvanna Sheriff's department confirms those witness accounts, and says a third witness came forward with another car sighting that morning on Route 53. Wells says Hourihan's friends and family have mounted searches, and investigators have also checked for signs that Hourihan's vehicle could have ended up off the road after an accident.
"Everything that I know to check has been checked," says Wells, noting that agencies including the FBI and the Virginia State Police are providing support. While there is currently no hard evidence of foul play, Wells says he's concerned given that most missing people turn up after a few days. The length of time Hourihan's been gone– and the lack of any sign of him or his vehicle after April 8– are cause for concern, as is the fact that Hourihan left behind medication he takes daily for a heart condition.
Tara Hourihan fears the worst.
"Our six-year-old daughter is the apple of his eye, his reason for getting up every day," the mother says through sobs. "There's no way he could stay away from us. He couldn't stand to be away from his little girl; she was his world."
There is a $500 reward for information leading to the recovery of the car Hourihan was driving and up to a $5,000 reward through Crimestoppers for information leading to the location of Hourihan, who stands 5'8", weighs approximately 250 pounds, and who was last seen wearing blue work pants and a plain gray pocketed t-shirt. He has dirty blond hair and a beard.
Anyone with information that could be pertinent to the case should call the Fluvanna County Sheriff's Department at 434-589-8211.