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'When I was 10 I met a strange boy who appeared from nowhere, we got close. Then he disappeared.' UPDATED 7X

'When I was 10 I met a strange boy who appeared from nowhere, we got close. Then he disappeared.' UPDATED 7X

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Our formative childhood memories can stick with us for years and shape how we view future relationships. Because of this, tracking down an old childhood friend can be both healing and hurtful - depending on the outcome.

"When I was around 10 I met a strange boy who seemed to appear from nowhere, him and I became super close friends but after about a year he disappeared. I never found a way of contacting him again."

Okay, so I was probably around 10/11 years old the first time I remember the boy turning up. It was the middle of summer and my friends, and I were swimming in a lake in one of my parents' fields. I grew up in a small farmers town, with a population of no more than 200 and so everyone knew everyone.

There were two schools in the town, one for boys and one for girls, I'm not sure why they split them by gender, and I'm pretty sure both have merged now, but that's what it was like when I lived there. I'm going to tell it how I remember it happening, but my friend who was there at the time remembers it slightly differently than I do.

As I was saying, my friends (I think it was about 4 of us in total) and I were swimming in the lake at the bottom of one of my parents' fields. It was about a 15-minute walk from my main house. We had been playing there for a while, when we heard someone calling to us. We looked over and saw the boy standing at the edge of the lake, completely n*ked. Once we noticed him, he asked if he could play with us.

He looked to be around the same age as us, maybe a little older but not by much. He was super pale, like white pale. I remember being amazed and kind of jealous of his super bright green eyes. He also had shoulder length white-blond hair, like Draco Malfoy blond. I looked to my friends, and we said yeah, and he came in the lake with us. None of us recognised him.

Which as I said was weird because we had all lived in this tiny town for our whole lives and everyone basically knew everyone living there. He introduced himself as Richard, but he said he prefers if we called him Richie, so we did. I remember asking Richie where he was from, but he would go all awkward and would never give a straight answer.

Anyway, after a while more of playing in the lake Richie seemed fun and I invited him to come back to my house for supper, he straight away said he would love to come, and my friend was like "Don't you need to ask your mum?" to which Richie said something like "Oh she won't mind.” Remember how I said Richie was completely n*ked, well that wasn't so strange. In fact, I'm pretty sure we all were.

My friends and I were all boys, and we would skinny dip in the lake normally, so it didn't stick out to me when he first arrived like that. But what did stick out to me was when we got out of the lake dried and dressed ourselves, Richie had no clothes with him to get dressed into. Which I remember thinking was super weird, but he said something like "Oh I must have forgot to bring them."

Which again, I thought was very weird, like how do you forget your clothes. I wasn't sure how my parents would react to me bringing home a n*ked boy, so I gave him my briefs and my overshirt to put on. But yeah, that stuck out as very odd. My friends went back home, and Richie and I went to my house. My dad was like “where’s his clothes?” I just made something up.

I’m pretty sure I said something like his clothes got wet, so we left them in the sun to dry. I got him some trousers to put on. We ate supper, which I remember him having 3 or 4 plates of. As I said, Richie is a super skinny boy, I was pretty small and skinny at the time. But he was definitely skinnier than I was, so I was confused how he ate so much lol.

Richie was super polite and sweet to everyone while he was at my house. After supper I took him upstairs to my room and we played on my Nintendo 64 together. He had never seen one before and was super amazed by it. At the time I thought he had never seen one before and was super amazed by it. At the time I thought he had never seen one because they were so old, this was 2010.

But my family was poor and that's all I had. It started to get dark, and I asked him if he wanted to sleep over, he was really excited by that and said yeah. I checked with my parents, but I knew they wouldn't mind because they were both super dr*nk. So, we continued playing on N64 until it was super late.

After a while, I said it was time that we went to bed as I was tired, but I don't remember him seeming tired at all. Richie asked if he could shower before as we had been playing in my fields and he was really muddy. As he was showering, I made my bed for us and put a movie on the TV for us to watch as we went to sleep, I got into bed. Richie came in like 5 minutes later and was completely n*ked again.

I was like "did you walk from the bathroom like that?" he was like yeah and didn't seem to care at all, so even though I thought it was strange I didn't say anything. He got into my bed, I asked him if he wanted any pajamas and he said no it was too hot, which to be fair I do remember it being really hot that day.

I had a Scooby Doo movie on, and he was really excited by it, and didn't know anything about them, which I guess isn't too weird. But looking back, he didn't seem to know any pop culture stuff at all, I mean, we were pretty behind the times in my small town, but we still knew most pop culture.

I had slept in quite a lot the next day, but when I woke up Richie wasn't in my room. I went and asked my mum if she'd seen him and she said he left early that morning after his parents rang our house, how they knew he was with us or where to ring I'm still not sure. Richie had taken some shorts from my room because my mom said he couldn't leave without clothes on.

I was a little disappointed he left without me, or at least without saying goodbye or without leaving any way of contacting him again. He turned up again a couple days later when my friends and I were swimming in the lake again. This time he brought clothes, but I'm pretty sure he only brought some briefs and a shirt with no pants. Which again, I thought was weird.

Over the next year, him and I became super close. We were like brothers. Over the year, I asked if I could see his home or meet his family. But any time I asked anything personal about him, he would go awkward and not want to talk about it. Or he would just change the subject.

But I could see it made him feel uncomfortable, so I didn’t push him to tell me. He did tell me he was homeschooled, which I thought was cool. Because I’m my mind that meant no school. As I said, we became really close over the year. I felt like he was more than a friend to me. It’s difficult to explain, it’s almost like we clicked from the first time we met.

We became close really quick, and I felt like I could tell him anything and he would always help and support me. He helped me through so many hard times, and he definitely encouraged me to be a better person. It was almost as if he could sense when I was going through anything.

For example, when my grandma passed away, I went out into my fields to cry as I didn't want to do it in front of my family. But after sitting down in some random place Richie turned up and sat next to me, he said some things that I remember helping me a lot. When I asked him how he found me he said that we were just on a walk. Not too long after this, he just vanished.

It had been a little over a year since the first time he appeared at the lake. It was around September the year after, so it had been around a year and 2/3 months. He never turned up again, never said goodbye, never left a trace. I was massively upset, I really really missed him. I would walk around the fields looking for him and I would hang out by the lake where we first met.

Hoping that he would turn up, but he never did again. I still don't know what happened to him, I've tried searching social media for him but with no luck and since he would never tell me that much about his life I don't have that much to go on. I asked my parents what they remember of him.

They said they remember him being odd, and that they were unsure about him at first, especially how he had a tendency to strip naked whenever he felt like it. But they also said that he and I were inseparable and wherever I was he was sure to be found there too.

They said they remember me being heartbroken when he stopped appearing, and they weren't sure whether they should call the p*lice about him being gone, but they never did. (I kind of wish they did). I suppose this is a long shot, but if you're reading this Richie, reach out to me.

I'd love to speak to you again and get some answers to all the weird things about you.

It’s completely possible that there isn’t anything paranormal about Richie, but it is definitely strange.

TL;DR: A boy turned up out of nowhere in my small town. He was quite weird and didn't know much about pop culture. Him and I became super close friends really quickly and spent almost every day together. Until one day, after about a year, he disappeared. Never turned up to hang out with me again. I didn't have any way of contacting him as he would always avoid answering any personal questions.

Not long after posting, OP shared an update.

UPDATE 1.: I am visiting my parents for a couple weeks; I will search the house for any photos us Richie and I that I could share here. Though, with 7 older brothers and a lot of family photos I'm not sure I'll find anything. Also, there is a fun day at the local church to celebrate the schools breaking up for summer holiday.

As suggested by a commenter, I am going to attend the coffee morning where all the old people who live in the village go. Even if this means waking up at 7am. I am going to be asking around to see if anyone remembers Richie. I will update this thread tomorrow if I find anything!

And OP continued to post updates as they came.

UPDATE 2:

I have asked around at my local church today, no one seemed to remember Richie. I started to lose a little hope. But word must have spread around that I was looking for someone. Because an old lady (I'll call her Sharon in this), who I know, but haven't ever really spoken to before, came up to me. She says she thinks she might know Richie's maternal great aunt.

She is going to try and find the contact details for me so I can reach out and see if the great aunt has any info on Richie. Sharon says if Richie is does belong to the family she's thinking of, then he would have lived at a cottage around an hour and 15-minute walk from the main village. She said the cottage is secluded, with no neighbours.

Sharon has no idea why they disappeared, but she said she isn't that close to Richie's great aunt. I hope this is good news, I might actually be a step closer to finding Richie again. I'll update with anymore news if I find any. I'm hoping that this possible aunt is still alive and hasn't changed contact details. Wish me luck!

UPDATE 3:

I have contacted Richie's potential great aunt (PGA for short lol), with no luck. I called the number that Sharon gave to me a couple times. With no answer, though I have left a message explaining who I am. I am sent a letter first class to the address that Sharon gave me as well, which should get there tomorrow or the day after.

Hopefully the PGA is still living at the address, and I am able to get some answers. In the letter I also explained why I was interested in contacting her, and I gave my phone number if she would like to call me instead of writing back. I will update as soon as have anything new.

Oh, and one more thing. I visited the cottage where Sharon thought Richie could have been living. The cottage is abandoned and run down. Seems likely that he could have been living here. It gave off massive creepy vibes though.

UPDATE 4:

I have heard back from the PGA; I'll name her Jane. Someone suggested that I check if the number was linked to any apps like WhatsApp. It was, and I reached out to Jane on there. This seemed to do the trick and she messaged me back relatively quickly. After describing Richie to her, she said pretty confidently that she is related to Richie.

This is where things take a bad turn. Jane hasn't been in contact with Richie's family for many years. But she does have the phone number of Richie's older sister. I had no idea he even had any siblings at all. Jane insinuated that I won't find what I'm looking for when contacting Richie's sister. I fear the worst, it seems as though something has happened to Richie.

Jane told me that Richie's sister will be able to tell me more, gave me her number and then hung up the phone. I'm incredibly anxious to reach out to Richie's sister. This could be the end to the search that has taken me so long. But I fear that it isn't the ending that I have dreamed of. I will update this thread once I know more.

The internet was deeply invested in the search for Richie.

ArtShare wrote:

Can you go to the local cemetery and see if there are any Richards that died young?

lilbearcat19 wrote:

It sounds like Richie and his family may have been severely impoverished, provided he wasn’t paranormal. Moving away suddenly fits that bill if they found a better situation somewhere.

squirrelcat88 wrote:

It sounds like he might have been part of some very weird cult or family - the sort of people who don’t mix with others.

lionheart0001 wrote:

Reminded me a bit of stories you hear about Irish Travelers.

BaldChihuahua wrote:

Hmmm…so many scenarios run through my mind as what the situation was with Richie. I do know I feel fully invested in your story. The mystery of Richie is intriguing! I can only imagine how it feels for you! Have you talked to your other friends, I know you mentioned one friend who recalls the situation differently. Would you mind sharing his perception? I really hope you find answers and/or Richie himself.

A few days ago, OP shared another update.

This is an update to my original post from a couple days ago. So I am not sure if anyone will even care about this update. This journey has been difficult, many years I have searched for answers on where Richie is now. Sadly, it is not good news. Deep down, I think I feared and perhaps avoided searching for Richie in case this was the outcome.

With the help of everyone here and so many lovely commenters, I tracked down a distant relative to Richie. Who put me in contact with Richie's older sister. A sister that I did not know existed. For the sake of clarity I will name the sister Sarah. Sarah helped put into context Richie, his odd behaviour, his unwillingness to show me his home and his disappearance.

Sarah and Richie both suffered ab#se and neglect at the hands of their father. Their father, who suffered with severe mental health issues and dr#g-related problems for most of his adult life. Their father was terrified of the outside world, and thus kept them secluded away in secret. According to Sarah, their father was convinced that the world was months away from ending at any given time.

He was convinced that the devil was planning to take over his mind and body. And was convinced that Jesus had spoken to him, and told him the only way to keep him and his family safe was to keep them secluded from the outside world. Sarah shared that their father would not often be physically ab#sive, which I suppose is of some relief. Richie and his family would move often throughout his childhood.

Never staying in one place for too long as his father feared that the devil would soon find them. Sarah said they were most likely moved in the middle of the night with no forewarning. Though she can't remember the specific time they were moved from my town. This helps to explain how Richie seemed to appear one day, and disappear 15 months later.

Richie passed away at age 15, around 2 and a half years after vanishing from my town. Sarah struggled to go into the details of Richie's death and I didn't want to push her into sharing something that was painful for her. Though it seemed that Richie took his own life. Sarah told me that Richie would often speak of me, and the time we spent together.

And that all Richie ever wanted to do was to come back and find me. Sadly, he never managed that. She said she thought that I was just imaginary. She isn't sure how Richie would sneak out of the house to meet with me, but said that their father would keep them locked in their rooms for days and sometimes weeks at a time.

Sarah told me she has a collection of Richie's diaries, which I do remember him writing occasionally. She has offered to send them to me, which is lovely of her. She told me that a lot of the writing is about me, about our time together, about how he wanted to find me again so we could run away together. Again she never thought I was a real person. Hearing that was so incredibly bittersweet.

I look forward to reading those diaries, even though it will be incredibly difficult at the same time. She said she is glad that Richie managed to have an impact on someone on this world. I wish that I was able to express the impact that Richie had on my life. I wish I could tell Richie the impact he had on my life. I want everyone to know Richie.

I want everyone to know what an amazing, kind and beautiful person Richie was. This post is difficult for me to write. Deep down, I think that I resisted searching for Richie more in case this was the outcome. Sarah told me a lot more information, but I've decided to leave out most to respect her privacy. Sarah is away and safe from her father, which I am so glad about.

Again, I just want to express how thankful I am for all of you who have helped. For all of you who have offered emotional support. Thank you so much. Richie, I love you. I'm sorry I couldn't help you. I'm sorry I didn't pick up on the signals that you were in danger. I hope you can forgive me. Richie you were the only true friend I've ever had, it's so hard for me to write this.

I feel so sick that I didn't do more. Richie, I want you to know you saved me so many times throughout my life. So many low moments in my life have been helped because of the memories of you. I am so sorry I wasn't there for you the same way you were there for me. I love you so much Richie.

Internet strangers offered their condolences.

cooperfinnleia wrote:

Please don’t be too hard on yourself. You were only a child yourself. You were the light of Richie’s life. I know he’s still with you and I bet he’s so proud of his best friend. Sending you lots of love.

Waste-Win wrote:

Oh god that was so sad, but at the same time you should feel proud, you brought him happiness when his life was awful.

HermioneMarch wrote:

Wow. You obviously made an isolated little boy feel loved and seen. That is huge. Take comfort in that. Perhaps you could write Rickys story (as a book or memoir) with the sister's permission one day. You could use fake names.

Anjirocks wrote:

This is so sad. I hope you can find comfort in knowing that you were a good friend to Richie and being with you brought him a lot of happiness. Don’t blame yourself for not knowing he was in danger, you were a kid. You did the best you could for him. I’m sorry the story doesn’t have a happy ending.

Roughly a year later, OP shared another update.

Hello everyone, almost one year ago I made a reddit post searching for answers about a childhood friend of mine that went missing, it received a moderate amount of attention and with the people of the internet's help I was able to track down the relatives of my missing friend.

I thought I'd give you all an update on where I am today and how I'm doing as well as how Sarah is doing. It still pains me to think about Richie, and think about how I could have and should have helped him and how I failed to save him. It does really hurt to look back on it. I really don't have many friends and I suffer from pretty bad anxiety, and I just wish I had Richie here with me.

Sarah and I still occasionally talk, but not really as often as I wish we could. I have met her IRL once, which was nice. I hope that me posting this update is alright on this subreddit, it just seemed to me that so many were touched by Richie's story that I thought I would put this out there and I'm happy to answer questions of anyone who has them.

This post got a lot of replies, and I am trying to make my way through and answer as much as I can. I didn't think this post would get so much attention, especially since this was posted relatively recently. To answer a couple of the common questions: Yes, I am currently in therapy. I started it not too long ago along with some medication as I have suffered for a while with severe anxiety.

I am currently requesting permission from Sarah before I post any of Richie's journal entries, as I feel she should have final say on if she wants those out on the internet. No, I am not writing a book about Richie. No, this is not a promotion for a book. If anyone was to write a book about Richie and his life I would think it should be Sarah, however she does not have any interest in sharing her story.

She would much rather leave the past in the past, and honestly I can't blame her.

It really breaks my heart that there are so many people in here sharing that they knew a Richie, or they were a Richie.

I feel like so many children, even now, go under the radar, the lives they live and the ab#se they receive with no one there to help. It hurts to think that there could have been so many with us today that have sadly passed on and are no longer with us. I think everyone has a right to be remembered and I am so glad that Richie has had an impact on so many people here.

Also I'm sorry if I don't respond to a comment, there are a lot on here that I thought would be too difficult to respond to. I can say a million times that I shouldn't feel guilty, and I know that also. But it is very hard not to, and it's very hard to hear that I did all I could do when Richie isn't around anymore. That might sound mopey or ungrateful, I am grateful of all the love I have been sent. I'm just not sure I deserve it.

Two years later, OP shared another update.

Hello everyone,

This is strange for me to be back (on my third account no less), but I just wanted to give a short update about my life and the life of me and "Sarah" now. The day I created this account was Richie's birthday.

It has been almost 10 years since he committed s#icide. And though I think of him less now than I did before. I still think of him. It seems insane to me that it has been almost 3 years since I posted the original post. Sarah and I speak, but still not often. We met up on his birthday last year, but we didn't this year, the year before that I didn't even know it was his birthday.

It would have been around the time I posted the first post. Sarah is doing really well, at least from what she tells me, but again we aren't close. Sarah and I love the fact that this subreddit keeps the memory of Richie alive, she's really grateful that so many people know her brother's story. I encouraged her to make a post, but she said having that many eyes on her would be far too scary.

I have had so many people reach out to me over the years and say thank you as they 'were a Richie.' I think that's really sweet; I hope many others share their stories of Richies. Richies deserve to be remembered. I don't believe in an afterlife, not anymore maybe I did at one point. Richie was a real one, in every way. So, I am glad that his memory can at least live on.

Sarah did not give me permission to post Richie's journals. Which I am glad about, because that would have been an invasion of his privacy too far. He has some very personal inner thoughts in them, and sometimes even I feel weird reading. You can very much tell they were written by someone who was in a lot of pain.

And it is so sad for me to see them get more and more dark as he grows up. It makes me still upset that I couldn't help him in the way that he helped me. One page I will always cherish is a drawing he made of us both, labelled 'love'.

The internet had their tissues out.

Fatigue-Error wrote:

They found each other and had such profound life changing impacts on each other, even if for such a brief moment. What Richie and Sarah went through is horrible, and why CPS exists. I hope their father has no one else to make miserable. At least Sarah and OP have some peace.

StrangledInMoonlight wrote:

I thought this was going vampire/ghost child.

Instead it went guardian angel children. Richie was OP’s, and OP was Richie’s.

madeyoulurk wrote:

Coming from a Richie…I’m really glad that OP didn’t post the journal entries. I completely agree with he and Sara’s reasoning. I don’t know, man. I’ve been invested in this story for years! Out of all of the posts I’ve binged, this one got to me.

I just really, genuinely, hope that Sara and OP will find some peace and will always be ok! 🖤🖤🖤

Edit: The longest run on sentence. I should feel ashamed!

kiiiimbosliiice0001 wrote:

It feels like a coming of age story, but they were so young and innocent. I’m glad OP and Richie were able to impact each other so much.

Sources: Reddit
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