$5K Reward Offered in Former Guardsman's Disappearance - NECN


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$5K Reward Offered in Former Guardsman's Disappearance

While Thailand officials called off the search for Joshua Devine in April after he went missing on a scuba excursion, the family is still digging for answers.

$5K Reward Offered in Former Guardsman's Disappearance
Family Photos
Former Connecticut National Guardsman Joshua Devine, 36, went missing on a diving excursion in Thailand on April 11.

An Enfield family is offering a $5,000 reward in the disappearance a former Connecticut National Guardsman who vanished on a diving excursion in Thailand.

While Thailand officials called off the search for Joshua Devine, 36, who went missing April 11 months ago, the family still has a lot of questions about what happened to him.

The family released a document to NBC Connecticut Saturday that details email conversations between Devine's sister, the United States Embassy and an investigative reporter as the family digs for answers. His family has questioned whether foul play was involved.

While there is no new information in the case, the family plans on sharing any information uncovered with authorities, a family spokesperson said.

The reward money will go to anyone who offers leads that help bring Devine home. the reward is expected to run in three Thai newspapers and on social media.

Because of the lack of trust with Thai police, the family asks anyone with information to contact Devine's sister, Jennifer Bakowski said.

“Everything right now is hearsay. It’s been completely unconfirmed because of the fact that nobody is willing to come forward to actual provide the information to police because for the most part they fear for their safety," Bakowski said.

The family said it will try to protect people who come forward by sharing the information with the FBI, which will work with trsted authorities in Thailand.

There is also a benefit scheduled on Friday, July 17 from 6:30 p.m. to midnight at 116 School Street in Chicopee, Massachusetts to raise money in the family's continue search in the hope Devine is still out there and can be brought home safe.

Devine, an avid scuba diver, was on a diving excursion with his wife, a Thai native, when he reportedly drank too much, became agitated and disappeared, family members have said. The U.S. Army veteran and former Connecticut National Guardsman who worked as an IT specialist for a military contractor in Kuwait still has not been found months after he went missing. He also served in Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Bakowski and their mother went to Thailand to join the governor of Phuket and members of the Thai marine police in their search.

"We circled all the Similan Islands that he was headed towards and then we went up to the two additional islands. We circled those," Bakowski previously said.

Devine's family has been critical of the initial investigation and continues to investigate themselves for any information that could explain his disappearance.

"There's something wrong with the version of events that happened. It just wouldn't, it's just not the way that Josh operated," Bakowski previously said.

While in Thailand, Devine's family met with U.S. Embassy officials and an FBI agent.

They left without finding any clues to Devine's whereabouts, and the official search ended shortly thereafter.

"We got some answers. We may not ever get all of our answers," said Bakowski.

While they fear Devine may have drowned, family members are holding out hope he's alive.

Bakowski brought a letter with her to Thailand written by her oldest daughter, Joshua's niece. They still have it and want him to read it.

"She thinks he's on an adventure meeting all sorts of new creatures that he's going to be able to share with her," said Bakowski. "So she's got hope, so we have to keep it as well."

The family plans to keep in touch with officials they met in Thailand. As of late April, they had no plans to return.

Tickets for the benefit can be purchased from Glen Devine (413-531-7366, Chicopee), Marie Major (860-657-6540, Manchester), Brian Devine (413-883-3658, Holyoke) and Jen Bakowski (860-682-5796). Tickets can also be purchased until capacity is reached on the night of the event for $25 each.

Anyone with information on Devine's whereabouts can contact Bakowski at Jadunne3@yahoo.com.