Coffey’s father, Terry Coffey of Richmond, said his son had rented a cottage on the North River for several months and was helping an acquaintance renovate a Gloucester property and take care of some animals. He said his son had apparently stopped renting the cottage about a month ago and was living with the acquaintance.
Coffey said his son was at the family’s Richmond residence Christmas Eve when they enjoyed a big dinner and opened gifts. He said he last saw his son the next morning when the younger Coffey left early, saying he needed to get back to take care of the animals. "He was in a good mood. He enjoyed his Christmas presents and was very happy," Coffey said.
The last known person to have talked with Ben Coffey was a childhood friend, with whom he spoke around 5:15 p.m. on New Year’s Eve.
He told the friend he was in Richmond and was headed home. "We would all assume it would mean Gloucester," Coffey said of his son’s destination. "Then his van was found in Tappahannock, that’s so confusing to me. It doesn’t make sense."
Last Thursday evening, Richmond police came to Terry Coffey’s home to inform him that the van had been found abandoned in Tappahannock. Tappahannock police first noticed the van on New Year’s Day but thought it may have broken down and that its owner would return for it.