After 10 years Oklahoma couple learns about son's disappearance and death, thanks to a stranger

MCALESTER, Okla. - From the office in her McAlester, Okla. home, Kay Grumbine now communicates by e-mail with the woman she calls her angel.

"My name is Kay Grumbine and my husband's name is Grant. You solved the case of our missing son, Troy Darren Grumbine," Kay wrote earlier this year, in her first e-mail to the woman who found the Grumbine's son.

Back in February of 2004 Troy Grumbine went missing. He left his apartment without notice and drove out of Irving, Texas in his car.

Police officers found the car, more than 700 miles to the west, near Deming, New Mexico. It was parked on the median with the engine still running.

"The lights were on, the passenger door was open and he just disappeared," Grumbine said.

For 10 years Troy's parents hoped they would find their son.

His dad, Grant, counted the days on Troy's watch which he now wears. Troy left the gold watch behind in his apartment, just like almost everything else to identify him by.

"They found his billfold, ID and everything," Grant said.

34-years-old when he went missing, Troy dealt with a bipolar disorder for 17 years. Medication helped Troy keep the disorder in check, Kay said. But without notice he would just get up and drive long distances, usually calling home a couple days later.

Grant said Troy randomly drove to Las Vegas once. Another time he just got up and headed to Baltimore.

"We asked him how he got to Atlantic City and he said I drove north out of Dallas and turned right," Grant said.

But the disappearance and search of Troy took a sharp turn itself earlier this year.

A young woman started piecing the mystery together. On a website for missing person cases called The Charley Project, she read the description of Troy, written by Kay.

"He might be wearing a gold cross and chain and that he was bipolar," Kay said the description read. "She said her mother was bipolar, so that caught her interest."

The description caught the interest of that young woman, named Henrike Hoeren.

Hoeren, a 24-year-old German woman living in Ireland, looks through missing person cases as a hobby. Before Troy's case, she solved one other case.

She matched Troy to an unidentified man hit and killed by a car near San Simon, Arizona, back in 2004.

Kay said according to police, no foul play was suspected in the accident, which took place the day after Troy disappeared.

The previously unidentified man was wearing a gold chain with a cross and matched the description of Troy.

Hoeren called police in both Texas and Arizona. After matching Troy to the unidentified man through DNA evidence, Kay said detectives came to her house.

The detectives told Kay and Grant they had both good and bad news.

Troy was dead, but the case of his disappearance was now closed.

Kay believes more people should look through missing person cases, to hopefully help more families.

"I think if more people got involved in these kinds of research projects, that more people might be found," Kay said.

Looking back on the disappearance of his son, Grant said more families should gather DNA and fingerprints, if their loved ones are dealing with conditions similar to Troy.

"Just like our case, if he would have had his DNA or fingerprints registered, who knows," Grant said.

Hoeren didn't bring the Grumbine family the ending they hoped for, but she at least brought them closure, which they thank her for.

"She is an Irish angel, with a German accent," Grant said, as Kay added, "and she gave us our son back."

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