Community remembers missing man; parents plea for safe return

Community remembers missing man; parents plea for his safe return

Posted:
Derek Funk (source: Knoxville Police Department) Derek Funk (source: Knoxville Police Department)
The community gathered Sunday for "Derek Funk Remembrance Day" at Faith Promise Church in Knoxville. The community gathered Sunday for "Derek Funk Remembrance Day" at Faith Promise Church in Knoxville.

By MIKE KRAFCIK
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - A Knoxville woman used Mother's Day as a plea for the safe return of her son, who went missing three years ago.

Derek Funk was last seen on May 12, 2010 on his way home from a friend's house in Powell.

His last phone call pinged off a cell phone tower near the Walmart on Clinton Highway.

He would be about 22 years old now.

The community gathered Sunday for "Derek Funk Remembrance Day" at Faith Promise Church in Knoxville.

The ceremony marks the first year the family is remembering Derek on the anniversary of the  day he went missing.

"It would be wonderful if Derek walked in the front door today, but I also try to be realistic, because of what we've heard, and what we've seen people print," said Tricia Funk, Derek's mother. 

The family says the last six months have been the most painful.

"I've a hard time dealing with the depression. It's just so hard missing him," said Tricia Funk.

His parents said they spent the first two years working very closely with detectives, but no new leads turned up.

But now, in the third year of Funk's disappearance, they are turning to the public, never giving up hope.

"It's just so hard missing him, but I've been getting better. I've just had to turn it over to god. He knows where he is, and he's taking care of it," said Tricia Funk.

Derek's younger brother, Brett Funk, who is described as having a strikingly similar resemblance, is honoring his brother in his own way.

His soon-to-be born son will be named Derek. 

"Naming my son Derek is one thing I could do. Otherwise, not knowing anything, it's really hard to do anything, because you don't know what's happened," said Brett Funk.

The family describes Derek as very gifted, someone who loved cars. Funk was also a certified welder.

"He knew right away that's what he wanted to do is weld, he wanted to be a welder. He became very good at it," said Kevin Funk, Derek's father.

Funk is described as 5-foot-11, weighing about 130 pounds. He has blond hair and blue eyes. 

He drives a 1996 Ford Ranger pickup truck.

Even though the case has gone cold, the Funks are still offering a $10,000 reward.

If you have any information about Derek Funk's whereabouts, call the Knoxville Police Department at 865-215-6883.

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