Two-and-a-half years after George Vander Weit went missing, his body was found about a mile from the Rochester, Mich., condo he shared with his wife, Bonnie, according to a post by his son Randy on Facebook. Vander Weit was a retired pastor in the Christian Reformed Church.
On July 5, 2013, Vander Weit disappeared shortly after being released from a mental health facility. He was considered a danger to himself. Extensive searches by police, family, and friends for months afterward turned up no leads.
Randy Vander Weit’s post said that dental records confirmed that the human remains were those of George Vander Weit. He was 70 years old at the time he went missing.
Randy requested that the family be upheld in prayer. “My mom is feeling overwhelmed with decisions she now needs to make,” he wrote. “We, George’s children, are dealing with guilt for not having searched more thoroughly, considering his remains were found a mile or so from my parents’ condo.”
George and Bonnie were members of Han-Bit Korean CRC. Prior to retirement, Vander Weit served churches in Michigan and Ohio. He was a frequent contributor to The Banner.
He attended the annual synod (the CRC’s annual leadership meeting) many times and was particularly well-known for his outspoken support of women serving in ecclesiastical office. A year after his disappearance, delegates to Synod 2014 paid tribute to him and prayed for his family. “I had this hopeful vision George would come riding his bike here to Pella, Iowa, and have a joyful reunion with us,” said Rev. David Kromminga, a long-time colleague.
Within hours of the news breaking, tributes and condolences for his family poured in on Facebook, many expressing thanks that the family finally has closure but sadness that the waiting ended this way.