Family, friends hold out hope as Jefferson County father remains missing

Family, friends hold out hope as father remains missing
Published: Aug. 11, 2022 at 11:20 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 22, 2022 at 12:44 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Near a house that burned earlier this week, authorities also found the car belonging to Nathan Gemeinhart who’s now been missing for days. We spoke with a close friend who like many are praying for the best.

Jefferson County Probate Judge Jim Naftel has known Gemeinhart for about seven years. He and Gemeinhart along with a few others are a part of a local dad band called “The Buzz Killingtons”. Music brought Naftel and Gemeinhart together.

“He was a very good musician and I’m a terrible but enthusiastic musician. We would play together on youth retreats and we were in this dad band together,” Naftel said.

We’re told Gemeinhart and his family are very active in Red Mountain Church. He and Naftel are close friends. They would text each other on almost a daily basis. Naftel says Nathan is a people person and always thinking about others.

“He was a listener and he cared so much about other people. That’s why people are just devastated this has happened,” Naftel said.

Gemeinhart has been missing since August 8. According to reports, he works for a property management company and was checking out some properties at the time. A day later, his car was found near Eufaula Avenue which is a block away from the scene of a house fire where a body was found. Right now, investigators haven’t connected the two incidents. With each passing day, worry doesn’t even begin to describe how family and friends are feeling.

A GoFundMe page set up by Gemeinhart’s church reads “As we prepare to celebrate Nathan’s life, we also want to serve the family and provide for them”. The church also held a prayer vigil earlier this week.

“I don’t think it’s really hit any of us that its real. I keep thinking that I’m going to get a ding any second, just a text from him about songs to play or new podcast to listen to whatever different things we would talk about and I think most people are probably feeling that. It just doesn’t seem real,” Naftel said.

Gemeinhart’s pastor Charles Johnson and others tell us that Nathan is the kind of man that many aspire to be. He is dedicated to his family and faith. Johnson continues to ask for prayers from the community.

Gemeinhart’s family released this statement:

We are heartbroken by the loss of our Nathan. He was good, kind, and faithful. He was funny. He listened well. He worked hard. He never met a stranger and never, ever turned down a plate of tex-mex. Nathan was a gifted musician who enjoyed teaching his children the names of instruments and blues musicians. He loved Jesus.

He absolutely adored being a daddy. He delighted in his family and friends. His love for his wife was patient, tender, and unending. We miss him terribly, and will grieve his absence the rest of our days.

The manner of his death is gut wrenching, and so we look with an achy hope to the Christian Scriptures for comfort. We believe we will see Nathan again, where God will wipe away our every tear, and where death is no more.

The family asks for privacy during this time. Thank you for your cooperation, we are all deeply grateful for your support.


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