It began as a "very typical" Thursday morning. Like always, Angelina Robillard said goodbye to her husband before he left for work, never thinking it might be the last time she'd seen him.
After five and a half years of marriage, Angelina knew how much Matthew Robillard valued punctuality. He never showed up late for work; every morning by 7:30, he'd leave his wife and six-month-old son Hudson in the family's West Lethbridge home so he could hit the highway for his 25-minute morning commute to Picture Butte. By 8 a.m., he'd be at Scotiabank, where he's worked as a banker since last June. In September, he was transferred to the Picture Butte branch.
But the 25-year-old never showed up to work on Thursday and his family and friends haven't seen him since. Lethbridge and Calgary police launched a joint investigation into his suspicious disappearance after Calgary police found his abandoned car, a 2012 grey four-door Honda Civic with the licence plate BHM 0599, around 11:30 a.m. Thursday in northeast Calgary.
"This is totally out of nature for him. He simply disappeared off the face of the earth, if you will, outside of finding his vehicle," said Staff Sgt. Ian Sanderson with the Lethbridge Regional Police Service.
"This is an ongoing investigation of great seriousness and we're inviting those tips to come our way so we can help satisfy the Robillard family with the hopes that we can find Mr. Robillard safe and sound."
A whole work day had passed by the time Angelina found out around 5:15 p.m. Thursday that her husband was missing.
"Every bad feeling you can feel goes through (your mind)," she said. "Fear. Shock. Complete panic and dread."
Angelina said police told her Matthew's car was found running near the Calgary airport, the passenger window smashed out. His belongings, including his wallet and cellphone, were still inside, along with a pack of cigarettes. But Matthew didn't smoke.
What's most important to her now, she said, is to search for Matthew, "to continue and never stop until he's found."
Private planes and helicopters joined community-run search efforts Friday as Matthew's family, friends, church group and supporters rallied to help find him. They urged farmers and landowners between Lethbridge and Calgary to check their properties for any sign of Matthew, who's about six feet tall, 220 pounds with reddish brown hair, brown eyes and a pale complexion. He was wearing a brown casual jacket, a blue dress shirt, black dress pants and black shoes. Anyone with information on his whereabouts, or anyone who may have seen him or his car in the hours before his disappearance, should call police at 403-328-4444 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.
A Facebook group dedicated to the search effort, "Matthew Robillard is missing," had nearly 2,000 members by Friday afternoon.
The couple's friend, Kristy Tidmarsh, said those close to Matthew don't believe the family man chose to disappear.
"It's very out-of-character for Matt," she said. "He's very grounded, stable, very caring, kind person, you know, would do anything for anyone. We don't feel like he's taken off. We don't believe that's what happened. We believe something has happened."