'We don’t want Chad forgotten’: Police, family ask for answers in Buena Vista man’s death

Austin went missing in 2019, his remains were found earlier this year

AMHERST COUNTY, Va – On the eve of what would have been his 32nd birthday, family members and investigators are looking to the public for more answers about the murder of Chad Austin.

Austin went missing in Amherst County last year – his body not found until the spring. On Thursday, those closest to him asked for the community’s help in getting justice for chad.

“I believe there is a group of people who knows what happened to Chad Austin the day he went missing and they were there when his death was caused,” Virginia State Police Special Agent Kevin Zirkle said.

Austin went missing in 2019 with his car, dog and wallet found close by to where his remains were discovered near Panther Falls road in May.

Authorities said they searched the immediate area located several of his personal items including two knives with the blade in the open position. According to police, forensic evidence shows that a struggle between Austin and his killer took place that ultimately led to his death.

His wallet “turned up” at Pather Falls six months after Austin was reported missing, authorities said

His family gathered near the site holding signs saying “Justice for Chad" and describing how they’ve dealt with the loss and the unknown.

“To even fathom that our son’s life was taken so early is so hard for our family to bear,” Chad’s mother Ellen Austin said.

But investigators believe they are close to cracking the case and had a message for those withholding information.

“We are getting closer, you have not gotten away with anything we are making progress every single day,” Zirkle said.

Police say based on evidence, they know Chad and his killer got into some sort of struggle that ultimately led to his death, but would not go into detail. They are also suspicious about other facts in the case – specifically tied to his wallet found in the area already searched when he was originally reported missing.

“The person who returned Chad’s wallet to the panther falls area approximately six months after his disappearance, you have not come forward, and why not?” Zirkle said.

Chad’s family and loved ones want the community to remember him for who he was, a loving son and friend.

“We don’t want Chad forgotten and that’s why we need your help,” Austin said.

Those with information about Chad are encouraged to call the Virginia State Police at (540) 375-9589 or contact us by email at questions@vsp.virginia.gov.

About the Author:

Annie Schroeder joined the 10 News team as a reporter in June 2020 and is no stranger to Southwest Virginia.