Newtown resident Sue MacMullan pulled into her driveway last Monday at around noon, saw her neighbor William Fitzgibbons walking his dog like he always did, waved “hello” and then exchanged a few complaints about the cold weather with him.
“It was nothing out of the ordinary,” the Fox Run Lane South resident said.
Little did she know that a few hours later, Fitzgibbons’ wife, Jayne, would report him and the Jeep he drove on an errand to the Big Y supermarket missing.
The search for Fitzgibbons, a 56-year-old Newtown man, is in its 11th day with no new updates, town police said. On Friday, police released additional photos of Fitzgibbons in the hopes that someone will recognize him and contact authorities.
The disappearance remains classified as a missing person report, Newtown police Lt. George Sinko said.
"We have no reason to believe it should be classified any differently," he said.
after he failed to return from running an errand at the Queen Street supermarket.
Fitzgibbons, who bought cream at the supermarket, police said, had called his wife from a service phone at the market at about 5:30 p.m. He told her he was running late due to car problems, . He had left his cell phone at home charging, she said. By 9:30 p.m., she reported him missing to Newtown police.
Authorities have said William Fitzibbons had no medical ailments that would cause them to classify his disappearance as "endangered." His Jeep — a white 1993 Grand Cherokee Laredo with no bumper stickers or blemishes, gray bumper and Connecticut license plate “709 EFK” — also has not been found. Officials said across the country.
MacMullan, a Newtown native who moved across the street from the Fitzgibbons 14 years ago, said she and her neighbors have been keeping a watchful eye for Fitzgibbons and his Jeep every chance they get.
They have all taken different routes back home and used it as an opportunity to look around for any sign of the Jeep or anything that would catch their eye.
“It just doesn’t make sense,” MacMullan said of the disappearance.
Fitzgibbons, who operates a home-based consulting firm bearing his name and whom police said also worked as a day trader, is a great neighbor, MacMullan said. She said she remembered when she first moved into the neighborhood, the Fitzgibbons welcomed her by bringing over a welcome basket.
The neighborhood is full of friendly people who live their own lives, but know each other, and are generous when it comes to helping each other out, including lending and borrowing equipment, such as ladders and snow blowers, MacMullan said.
Fitzgibbons was no exception, and knowing she is a single mother, he would offer to help her out when she needed it, MacMullan said.
“He’s a great guy,” she said.
Many neighbors also work at home or are retired, and so they are very aware of strangers or suspicious activity in the neighborhood, MacMullan said.
“It’s the safest neighborhood,” she said. “We look out for each other.”
Other neighbors also described the Fitzgibbons as a happy and inseparable couple. William Fitzgibbons also was described as someone who kept a daily routine, including walking the couple's dog around the neighborhood.
William and Jayne Fitzgibbons have been married for 33 years and have no children but extended family nearby, including his sister in Brookfield.
MacMullan said in William Fitzgibbons’ absence, neighbors have been taking turns walking the couple’s dog. She said when she looks across the street at her neighbors' home, she is half-expecting to find the Jeep and Fitzgibbons back home, and hoping “he just lost one week of his life.”
Editor's note: Newtown police can be reached at 203-426-5841. This article has been updated with new photos released by police on April 1, 2011.