ATHENS, TX (KLTV) - He's six feet tall, made entirely of plastic and for more than five years has educated children and adults about all things honey bee. But, his disappearance now leaves friends and co-workers wondering what happened to resident bee expert bob the beekeeper. The employee of the freshwater fishery in Athens went missing last week in the middle of the night and didn't leave much of a honey trail to follow. He lived on honey lane in a home of modest proportions. His only neighbors, the bees.
"Everybody loved Bob," said Larry Hodge, with Texas Parks and Wildlife. "Everybody loves honey and Bob's the guy who brings the honey."
The last photo taken of "Beekeeper Bob" before he went missing shows him standing in his corner of the bee house. It's the spot where he made a name for himself as a bee expert.
"He was just an individual," said Cheryl Matthews, Bob's co-worker. "No one else like him and he just knew his way around a beehive."
"He's been here for a while and it's just upsetting that he's gone," said Denise Hofstetter, Bob's co-worker.
When friends discovered Bob missing from his Honey Lane home, search parties were immediately organized, checking the lakes, ponds, and nearby woods, but no Bob.
"We let the Athens Police Department know that he was missing and that's about as far as we could take it," said Hodge.
Clues are few in the neighborhood. The beekeeper who never met a stranger never locked his door.
"There's really no sign left of Bob when he left he took all evidence of his presence with him kinda like a ghost," said Hodge.
Once Bob was freed, haunt or highway robber was forced to retreat, leaving the path for dense woods and a barb wire fence. It was a daring escape, leaving more questions than answers.
"Strange things happen around Halloween and maybe Bob got the idea it was time to see the rest of the world," said Hodge. "I know the bees miss him and we miss him so we'd just like for people to bring him back no questions asks."
Until he does return, friends are forced to wait and hope whoever is responsible helps Bob find his way back to make the house on Honey Lane a home again.
Officials believe Bob to be in East Texas. He's described as about six feet tall made entirely of plastic and dressed in a beekeeper's outfit. We're told he will also be carrying a large beekeeping smoking device. If you spot Bob please contact the Freshwater Fishery Center in Athens.