On March 30, 2017, Rutherford County teen Devin Bond disappeared from his home. His absence led to countywide shock, speculation and many unanswered questions regarding where he could have gone and why he did not return home.
The subsequent search in the Middle Tennessee area was followed by an offering of a $5,000 cash reward and coverage from many media outlets. Those close to Devin still haven’t received closure from his search.
The Murfreesboro Pulse recently spoke with Devin’s mother, Heather Simmers-Bond, in an effort to keep the search going and encouraging anyone with any information to share it with the authorities, the family and the media.
Murfreesboro Pulse: How would you describe the weeks leading up to Devin’s absence? What was going on?
Heather Simmmers-Bond: The weeks before Devin went missing everything seemed normal. I took him to the doctor, he went to football practice, played video games, went to school and was hanging out around the house with friends. I have asked myself several times: Did I miss something? Was Devin acting different the days before he went missing? I can honestly say that nothing sticks out to me.
Were there any arguments? Did anything occur between Devin and others that might have prompted him to leave?
We didn’t have any argument before he left. The night of March 30 we didn’t notice anything different, he wasn’t upset. If he did get upset, it was the everyday things. We made Devin do chores around the house like take out the trash, feed and water the animals and keep his room clean. At times he would argue with us about doing things around the house, but I feel like most parents have the same arguments in their house everyday when it comes to teenagers having responsibilities in the house.
Had he ever mentioned wanting to go anywhere specific, or was there any indication he was leaving?
We had no indication he was leaving. Devin liked to stay at home, the only time we would talk about going to a different place is on vacation and he always wanted to go to a place where he could swim. We went to Florida last year and as a family went on a fishing trip. He showed a lot of interest in doing something like that when he was older, to own a boat and fish all day.
Do you feel like there was anything odd going on?
We feel like someone knows something and is not talking or leaving out some important detail out that will help us find Devin. We don’t believe he could be missing this long without help.
There are various rumors out there (that Devin wanted to live in a homeless camp, that his father kicked him out, that his girlfriend broke up with him, etc.). What can you share about these rumors?
Devin at one time told a friend we wanted to run away and live with the homeless. I am guessing he said this when he was mad at us but we don’t fully believe this narrative. We have talked with the homeless, handed out flyers to the homeless and we don’t feel at this time that is where Devin is at, but we can’t rule it out at this time.
Devin’s father and I would never kick him out of our house. There is not one thing he could say or do that would make us turn our back on our son and allow him to leave.
I didn’t find out until the afternoon that he went missing that his girlfriend broke up with him the night before he went missing on March 30. We don’t believe this is the reason he left but it might have been a tipping point for him. If he did run away, we believe he planned it out.
What do you feel is missing from the public understanding? What have the other news stories not focused on?
We have learned not to like the word “runaway.” I feel people think that because he left on his own, because he is a boy and his age, that people don’t take his missing as serious as they might if he was younger or maybe a girl. He is 16 and is still naïve to the world and he is a child who doesn’t need to be away from home. I have read comments from people that say maybe he doesn’t want to be found or he might have a reason to leave. Devin has two parents who love him and would do anything for him. We are lost without him and our only concern is his safety. We don’t know if Devin is safe and that is why it is so important we find him.
How does one cope with such an event, and what would you like to share with other parents and members of the community? Where would you say you are emotionally?
The first month Devin was missing we were in shock and we don’t really remember a lot. We just survive one day at a time and that is really all you do is survive. I can’t think long-term at this time because it is too overwhelming and painful to think of our life without Devin here. I cry every day and every day is a struggle for us. You learn to hide your pain from the world but it is still there and never goes away. Some days are better than others and some days you can’t do the smallest thing. Our life is frozen in time on the day Devin went missing.
When you have a child missing you are on an emotional roller coaster and you can never get off the ride. We are experiencing the worst thing that has ever happened to us and we have to experience our pain in a very public way because we need the help of the community to find Devin.
We are private people and it has been difficult at times to deal with this in a public forum. Most people are kind and want to help, but you also deal with people who are cruel and it’s been difficult to learn how to deal with those types of people. The community is a great support to us and we appreciate everyone who has helped look for Devin. We just ask that people don’t give up looking for Devin. We believe we will find him and bring him home one day.
What else can you share?
We want Devin to know that we love and miss him. We want him to come home or to let us know he is safe. If something is stopping him from coming home, we want Devin to know everything can be fixed, he just needs to contact someone.
The Pulse will keep readers posted on any updates to the Devin Bond story.