A Tyler man who had been missing since Jan. 6 was found deceased Wednesday morning near a drainage ditch on Toll 49 in Tyler after a search that lasted close to two hours.
Corbin Stiefer was 21 years old.
Stiefer was reported missing Jan. 6 after he did not arrive at a doctor’s appointment and he left his cell phone at his grandparents’ house. Family members said they were concerned of his well-being due to his Crohn’s disease — a condition that causes dehydration and malnutrition.
Tyler Police Department Public Information Officer Andy Erbaugh said the investigators are trying to determine if he died of exposure, hypothermia or his illness.
Stiefer’s vehicle was located Tuesday night on the 8300 block of the County Road 1150 and the car was then taken to Tyler Police Department. Police said a coordinated search effort of the wooded area took place Tuesday night and resumed the next morning.
On Wednesday, roughly 20 police officers and a drone started searching the wooded area near Toll 49 and County Road 1150 at 8:30 a.m.
Erbaugh said the car gave detectives a focal point to search for Stiefer, and officers and family members searched for anything connected to him.
His mother, Carys Stiefer said Tuesday her son had the sweetest, most engaging personality.
“He’s been isolating himself because of COVID-19 and been down because of his illness,” she said, noting he’s had the chronic illness since age 12, and the family has been unsuccessful in finding medication. He was set to try out another medicine on Tuesday.
She said he had a big group of friends at his college Abilene Christian University, where he was a history major at the university and wanted to teach history or be a lawyer.
He graduated sixth in his class in 2017 at Robert E. Lee High School (now Tyler Legacy), where he also participated in marching band and jazz band.
“He’s got a good sense of humor, and he likes music. He likes to play games with his family and go on walks. He’s just very loving an affectionate and polite,” said Carys Stiefer.
Corbin Stiefer was a member of the Galaxy fraternity at ACU, where he served as a historian for a year, and he was a part of the student government.
His body was transported from the scene to Forensic Medical Management Services in Tyler for an autopsy, Erbaugh said.