SEYMOUR, Tenn. (WATE) — An East Tennessee family is holding on to hope as Jefferson County authorities and loved ones are searching for 31-year-old David McAfee.

All Melissa Gumm wants for Christmas is for her son to be safe back at home.

“We miss him like crazy,” she said. “It’s so unreal, it doesn’t seem real. I keep waiting on him to call or knock on the door, not even knock, just come through the door.”

David McAfee and his mother embrace. (Courtesy Melissa Gumm)

David is Melissa’s youngest son and he has a special place in her heart.

Described as a hard-working father of three boys, David, was last seen and heard from on Oct. 28. His long-time girlfriend received an alarming message that evening after David went to a convenience store near his house in Jefferson County, according to his mother.

“The cellphone, where they found it, had done a crash detection. We believe it was thrown from a moving vehicle and it did an SOS crash detection, and it did call 911 but the call didn’t complete. We all are thinking the worst because it’s been more than a month and it’s just not David,” Melissa said.

“He didn’t have his wallet, his second phone, a jacket,” David’s younger sister Kadana Gumm said. “I don’t even think he had a hat on, and he always wore a hat. I just had a baby and we talked about bringing him home and seeing him and everything. He was so excited because I’m the baby of the family and so I’m bringing in another member and he just always encouraged me to be a good mom.”

On Saturday, Dec. 17, David’s family will meet in Kodak and then head to Jefferson City where his phone was found to look for him. They have already searched for David several times but this weekend they will have additional help from professional search and rescue teams to cover more ground.

David McAfee poses for a picture with his sister Kadana Gumm. (Courtesy Melissa Gumm)

“I’m so thankful that we’re getting help to help find him because us just going as a family we can’t search big areas,” Melissa said.

“A small group of people can only do so much, and I know I would appreciate the help. My mom definitely would. We just want answers of some kind,” Kadana said.

David’s family believes it is highly unlikely he would abandon his children or take his own life, but he did have some burdens.

“David has an addiction past so if that’s the case, then we need to get him help also,” Melissa said.

Kadana added, “I don’t know why anyone would ever want to hurt him or anything He’s so kind and he doesn’t meet a stranger. He makes friends everywhere he goes so it doesn’t make sense.”

Melissa encourages everyone to check their properties for any signs of David. He’s 6’3”, weighs about 230 pounds, and has blue eyes and reddish-light brown hair.

David’s search party will meet at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 17, at 129 E Dumplin Valley Road in Kodak near the Subway.

Anybody with information regarding David’s whereabouts is urged to contact the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office at (865) 471-6000.