Details of Disappearance
Birchfield was last seen leaving his residence on Stoney Brook Road in Augusta, Georgia on September 20, 1991. He had been at home washing dishes when a car pulled up, with three people inside. Birchfield walked outside, spoke to them, and got in the car, and it drove off. He has never been heard from again. He left his wallet behind, inside his home.
Birchfield was caring for his partner's elderly mother at the time of his disappearance. She died two weeks later. His family has said it is very uncharacteristic of him to vanish and not attempt to contact loved ones. A relative reported Birchfield as a missing person in 1993, two years after he was last seen.
Prior to his disappearance, Birchfield served in the U.S. Air Force, married, and had a son in 1982. After his divorce he fell in love with a man and they lived together. Both he and his partner worked at the Maneline Hair Studio and seemed happy. He was also close to his family, particularly his brother.
Authorities believe it's possible Birchfield disappeared on purpose to prevent his family from having to watch him die as a result of his terminal illness. Less than a year before he went missing, he told his brother that if he ever became extremely ill, he would leave rather than put his family through the ordeal of having to care for him.
However, because he was so close to his family, they do not believe he would have left of his own accord regardless of what he had stated earlier. Birchfield's family believes he may have been murdered, and they have a possible suspect in mind, someone who is already serving a life sentence for an unrelated offense. This person has not been publicly named.
The circumstances of Birchfield's disappearance are unclear. His case remains unsolved.