Michigan police are searching for a family of four who they believe disappeared without a trace after the father exhibited “paranoid behavior” over the weekend.
Anthony “Tony” John Cirigliano, 51, his wife Suzette Lee Cirigliano, 51, and their two sons, Brandon Michael Cirigliano, 19, and Noah Alexander Cirigliano, 15, have not been seen or heard from since the October 16. the family “unexpectedly” left their home in Fremont, about 45 miles north of Grand Rapids, and are believed to be traveling in a silver 2005 Toyota Sienna LE minivan with Michigan license plates, according to the Department of Fremont Police, who are leading the investigation, and Michigan State Police, who are assisting. The sons are both autistic.
The family’s cellphones were all turned off and they left behind their pets as well as Suzette’s elderly mother, who has dementia and requires full-time care, police said. The grandmother, who lives with them, was found disoriented in the neighborhood on October 17 and police were unable to reunite her with the family. She is now being cared for by other relatives, according to Fremont Police Chief Tim Rodwell.
“They’re all very concerned that Tony and Suzette and the boys haven’t been in contact with anyone,” Rodwell told Grand Rapids ABC affiliate WZZM.
Police attended the Ciriglianos’ home shortly after midnight on October 16 after Tony called 911 to express concern about information he said he had about the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, according to Rodwell.
“My officers spoke to him at length and were just concerned about his mental well-being,” he said. “They got in touch with Suzette and looked at both boys to make sure they were okay.”
Tony, who is self-employed, has no known mental health issues and police found no signs of foul play, struggle or violence inside the home to indicate a suspicious disappearance, according to Rodwell , who told WZZM he was worried about the family.
“Everyone describes [Tony] as an extremely loving father, devoted to his family,” the police chief added.
Rodwell said the Ciriglianos have no history of run-ins with police, except for an issue involving Brandon that arose last summer in downtown Fremont. But Rodwell said the family were “very cooperative” and the matter was settled “out of court”.
“My officers found Tony to be, again, very loving and caring and concerned for his child,” he noted.
So far, investigators have no indication of the family’s whereabouts or which direction they went, but Rodwell confirmed they were neither at home nor in the community.
Police and neighbors have described the Ciriglianos’ disappearance as “unusual” as the family are known to spend a lot of time at home and don’t usually travel far when they leave.
A neighbor, Sue Schondelmeyer, told WZZM that the Ciriglianos moved to the neighborhood about five years ago. Previously, the family lived in North Carolina, according to Rodwell.
“They were always friendly,” Schondelmeyer said. “When I moved in, they brought me cookies.”
“When I had no power, [Tony] helped with the generator to boost my power, refrigeration and wouldn’t even take gas money,” she added.
Schondelmeyer told WZZM she will always see the Ciriglianos walking around. Her grandchildren often hung out with Brandon and Noah when they visited, she said.
“I realized I haven’t seen them this week,” she added. “It’s kind of scary to think that an entire family can disappear with nothing.”
As for the van the Ciriglianos would be traveling in, Schondelmeyer said she only saw the vehicle for the first time a few weeks ago. She remembered Tony driving it home and Brandon and Noah checking it out.
“It was the first and only time I saw him,” she told WZZM. “They usually only had regular cars, not a van.”
Another neighbor, Josh Brinkman, told WZZM his family was friends with the Ciriglianos and went to school with the two boys, whom he described as having “high-functioning autism.” Brinkman said he hadn’t hung out with Brandon or Noah in a while and the last time he did, about two months ago, everything seemed “normal.”
As for the boys’ father, Brinkman said Tony was a “good guy” and never exhibited any odd behavior, despite losing his job a few years ago. Asked if he had a message for the Ciriglianos, he urged them to “stay safe” and let family and friends know if they are okay.
“We care about you,” he added.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Fremont Police Department at 231-924-2400 or call 911.