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'This is not like him': Sister of missing Cape Coral man pleads for information

Barry Schmalbach
Posted at 5:24 PM, Jul 27, 2023

CAPE CORAL, Fla. — For nearly a week, no one has seen or heard from 56-year-old Barry Schmalbach. He was last seen at a Cape Coral bar before going missing, and his family believes his disappearance is suspicious.

Police say they are treating this as a missing persons case, but detectives were out at Barry's apartment on Thursday investigating. As they look for clues, his family in Chicago continues to wait for answers.

"We just want him home safe at this point," said Emily Scaletta, Barry's little sister. "It's not an easy feeling."

It's a feeling of confusion and worry for Scaletta as friends reported Barry missing on July 21.

However, he was last seen by his boyfriend on July 19 at Cruisers bar in downtown Cape Coral, about a mile away from his apartment on Beach Parkway.

In a police report, the boyfriend told police Barry got into an Uber or someone else' car at the bar. The police report says mutual friends heard Barry and his boyfriend got into a fight right before he left.

According to the missing persons report, Schmalbach's friend got a voicemail on July 19. He didn't check it until the next day, but Barry said he needed help getting his boyfriend out of his apartment.

The report says his friend kept calling Schmalbach back, but got no answer. On July 20, he checked Schmalbach's apartment with another friend. He got in with a key, but didn't find Schmalbach; however, did say the apartment was messy and that was unlike Barry.

The next day, his friend reported him missing.

"He's not one to just run off and not say anything to anyone or just leave stuff behind," Scaletta said.

His disappearance spurred a press conference by the police department.

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"People don’t just vanish, so someone has to know something," said Cape Coral Police spokesperson Brandon Sancho. "Someone has to know something. There also has to be video to support his disappearance."

It's a worry that's not sitting well with Scaletta.

"After hearing he was missing on Saturday night, that’s when we found out, and that he didn’t have his things with him, that’s when we got concerned," she said.

She and her mother, Barry's stepmom, last heard from Barry on July 10. He sent a meme over text and that was the last time they talked.

"This is not like him," Scaletta said.

She says Barry also did not take his car, which was parked in his apartment complex after he was reported missing. Since then, Scaletta said police have towed the car.

"He’s not the type of guy to just get up and leave without just saying anything to anybody," she said.

For now, Barry's family has to wait and check in with police through a phone call. She's hoping the next call will be good news.

"I just ask the community to just keep an eye out," Scaletta said. " We have always had a special bond, especially when I was little. We love him. I love him, my mom loves him. His cousins, everyone."

Scaletta says some family members plan to come to the area to search for Barry. If you know where he is or have any information about his disappearance, you're asked to call Cape Coral Police.