Kerby Bessey

Annette Bessey holds a photo of her mother, Wanda, and brother Kerby, from October 8, 1983. Kerby disappeared in 1986 at the age of 27 years old.

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COOS BAY — Thirty years after Kerby Bessey disappeared, family and friends are making plans to gather together to memorialize him later this month at Sunset Beach.

The 27-year- old was last seen at the Blue Moon Café and Lounge on South Broadway Street in 1986 and never heard from again.

His sister, Annette Bessey, said it's been really hard not knowing what happened to him.

“When you don't know 100 percent sure that this is what happened it kind of makes you go into a tailspin, it's just really hard,” she said.

Coos Bay police Chief Gary McCullough said his department has investigated every tip it has gotten about the case. In 2010, he said the department brought cadaver dogs to an area in Myrtle Point to search for a body, to no avail.

However, McCullough said it never hurts to bring information to the police.

“Stuff is always coming in and we run as far as we can with it,” he said, “Hopefully it’ll be that one rock.”

Bessey said she thinks she knows what happened to her brother, it’s just a matter of finding evidence. But even if investigators found a body, Bessey said she doesn’t know if she’ll be able to move on.

“Sometimes I worry that he didn’t get laid to rest properly,” Bessey said, “I’m just hoping that somehow in your brain you’ll just get to a better place. But, I don’t know if I ever will.”

The Sunset Beach event will be a chance for folks to bring a dish and share positive stories about Kerby Bessey. Bessey said she's thought about having a memorial service in the past, but her mother wouldn't have any part of it. But, she's hoping that her mother will come to this service.

Bessey said her brother served as a protector for her and others growing up. She said she regrets that her children didn't get to know their uncle.

“My kids would’ve thought he was the coolest person on the planet,” Bessey said, “that’s the thing that makes me the saddest, is that they didn’t get to know him.”

She said her brother’s disappearance has torn her family apart and she hopes that having the memorial will bring everyone to a better place.

“There were a lot of people that think 'Well, he was involved in drugs, who cares if he's dead.' But we care,” Bessey said, “because we know this other part of him, too, that was a good guy.”

The memorial service will be held on Aug. 28 at Sunset Beach from 1-4 p.m.

Reach Saphara Harrell at (541) 269-1222 ext. 239 or by email at


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