A Pasco Police Detective is now classifying the disappearance of a Pasco man as a murder.

Sources, including Yaktrinews.com and Pasco Police, now say this week 24-year-old Nathan Rich is a homicide victim. Rich was arrested on a warrant December 13th 2018 in Tri-Cities, then apparently disappeared on or around December 15th. That's the last time anyone saw him. After his arrest he'd been released pending a court appearance.

According to Detective Julie Lee, Rich did not show up for a court date from another case, in March 2019 in Spokane, and his family reported him missing in April. That was mysterious because he had been told by his attorneys he would have likely won that case due to evidence issues. He was also, at that time, added to the database for the official national list of missing persons.

Detective Lee began to work backwards, trying to piece together his whereabouts. A friend reportedly told Lee the man had packed up and headed back to his home state of Nevada. But Lee didn't believe that because Rich had no vehicle or other viable means of travel. All the evidence she obtained firmly led her to believe he'd never left here.

After extensive searching, no trace of him was found. However, in March of 2019, about the time he was reported officially missing, his EBT card was reinstated after having been dormant since right at the time he disappeared.  Eventually, Lee and officers arrested two people this January for a variety of EBT welfare fraud charges. Mira Fitzhugh and Cory Silva admitted they'd used Rich's information to reapply for the benefits and had used them frequently throughout the year. Officials say transaction surveillance videos show Rich never used his card after his disappearance.

Silva, when questioned about the matter, said he thought he needed an attorney. Neither of them have been ruled out as persons of interest in the disappearance. Detective Lee believes now Rich was murdered, authorities have even searched several areas of the Tri-Cities with cadaver dogs, but no trace found. But she believes Rich never left the area and he is buried somewhere.

Pasco police are urging anyone who may have any information about this case to call (509)-628-0333. All leads can be confidential.

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