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‘God knows where he is’ says family of missing man

Isaac Danyus 62 man who by all accounts loved his home his family has gone missing. He disappeared from Waukegan

Isaac Danyus, 62, a man who by all accounts, loved his home and his family, has gone missing. He disappeared from Waukegan six months ago on Sept. 27, 2012. | Sun-Times Media file

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Updated: May 3, 2013 6:07AM

Isaac Danyus had just put in a new driveway and had worked on his roof.

Danyus, 62, had even renovated the basement of his home, adding a new master bedroom for his wife and himself, with a big TV.

“It didn’t look like he planned to leave,” said his wife, Vicki Danyus. “It’s like he vanished into thin air.”

Yet in September, police found Danyus’ wallet, his car keys, his on-the-road, shower bag, with toothbrush and other personal items. Also left behind were medications for high blood pressure and an inhaler Danyus used for COPD, a chronic lung condition.

Danyus is a man whom by all accounts loves his home and his family. He disappeared from Waukegan six months ago on Sept. 27, 2012, and relatives and friends who gathered at Waukegan Baptist Bible Church, 1500 Sunset Ave., for a vigil on Friday, say they have no clue where he is or what happened to him.

“It’s driving me crazy,” said Charles, who describes his brother as a conscientious family guy, a recipient of a Purple Heart from a tour in Vietnam, who enjoys working on his home on Waukegan’s north side.

At the time of his disappearance, Danyus weighed approximately 170 pounds at 5-foot, 9-inches.

“I can’t make sense of it,” Charles Danyus said. “He always made sure his daughters’ cars were running. They depended on him. He was that kind of father.”

Danyus had been home about a week from his longtime job as a cross-country driver for Shur-Way Moving and Cartage in Libertyville and he was helping to make funeral arrangements for his sister, Cassandra Rush of Waukegan, who died Sept. 24. In his truck, police found mileage logs and expense money intact. Debit and credit cards from the couple’s various accounts have not been used by Danyus since his disappearance.

Vicki said she last saw her husband as she left for work on Sept. 27.

“He was eating cold cereal at the breakfast table at about 7:30 a.m.,” Danyus said. “I kissed him goodbye. I called him at 10 a.m., there was no answer.”

That’s when she began to worry. Her husband of 37 years, who insisted they spend every wedding anniversary together, always answered the phone, she said, even if he didn’t recognize the number. “He always wanted to know who was calling,” said Danyus, who contacted police after Isaac failed to come home that night.

Danyus’ 1997 gray Chevy Blazer was discovered when it was towed from a reserved parking spot at an apartment complex near Washington Street and Greenleaf Avenue, where his son had once lived.

Waukegan police said little this week about the investigation into Danyus’ disappearance except that it appears to have stalled. They conducted a search, using a cadaver dog, of the vicinity where the truck was left, including nearby woods. They questioned residents and searched Danyus’ home in a well-kept neighborhood in the 2300 block of Dover Road. They discovered evidence of a very methodical man.

“He wrote down everything he was planning to do,” Vicki Danyus said.

There were remarks he had jotted down for his sister’s funeral about how she got her nickname, “Tiny.” There was a reminder to buy replacement bulbs for the family room. There were names and numbers for movers around the country.

Danyus never attended his sister’s funeral. The new tie, slacks and dress shirt Vicki bought for him to wear for the occasion hang in a closet with the tags still on.

The Danyuses have three grown children and four grandchildren, each of whom Isaac took on a week-long summer trip on his rig, which often pulled a 53-foot long trailer.

“I didn’t tell grandpa,” the oldest grandchild recently told Vicki, “but that was the best summer I ever had.” Another grandson wonders, “Who will take me fishing?”

The bewildered family refuses to give up hope. They have conducted an exhaustive search, posted fliers and information online and have made contact with people in downstate Decatur, the Danyus’ hometown.

Each member of the family has his or her own theory of what happened: Maybe Danyus, who spoke every Sunday to his elderly mother, has amnesia or other memory problem? Maybe he cracked under some unseen pressure, or because of his younger sister’s death?

“I don’t know if it triggered something in him,” Vicki said. “He traveled all over the country. How could he come home and disappear?”

It makes walking downstairs to their new master bedroom difficult.

“When I go down there I expect to see him,” she said. “He’ll look up and say ‘Oh there you are.’ Like he’s the one who’s been looking for me.”

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