34-year-old Willis Derendoff was last seen in Fairbanks, Alaska on November 10, 2020. He disappeared after leaving his hotel while on vacation.

Background

Willis Edwin Derendoff was born on November 1, 1986. He is an Alaska Native of the Koyukon Athabascan people.

Willis lived with his family in Huslia, Alaska and worked seasonally at Taiga Mining Company outside town.

Described as a natural born musician, Derendoff was a performing musician who played guitar, drums, piano, and violin. He was also a singer.

Disappearance

Willis Derendoff missing Fairbanks Alaska

In October of 2020, Willis Derendoff traveled to Fairbanks, Alaska for a vacation after finishing his seasonal work. He rented a room at the Extended Stay America hotel near Old Airport Road.

On November 9, 2020, Derendoff spoke on the phone with his mother around 6:00 am.

Derendoff told her he was planning to take a COVID-19 test later that day because he wasn’t feeling well. He also mentioned that he was going to get a new cell phone and replace his lost ID and debit card before returning home.

Willis’ sister and father were also in Fairbanks at the time, but when they went to see him at the Extended Stay that morning they were unable to contact him. Hotel staff told them Willis had been there that morning, so they didn’t think much of it and went back home.

In the early morning hours of November 10, 2020, Willis was last seen by a friend at his hotel room. The friend stopped by his room, but Derendoff said he was with a girl and couldn’t open the door.

Later that day, Derendoff was reportedly spotted at Wrights Air Service, a commuter airline in Fairbanks, and at the Fred Meyer grocery store on Airport Way.

Willis hasn’t been seen or heard from since.

His family filed a missing person’s report with the Fairbanks Police Department on November 10 after being unable to contact him.

Investigation

On November 11, 2020, witnesses report seeing Derendoff at Stone Soup Café on Gaffney Road and in downtown Fairbanks.

On November 12, 2020, Derendoff was last seen by witnesses near Extended Stay America, accompanied by a tall Native Alaskan man with a thick mustache and wearing a black Carhart jacket with silver lining.

Willis was described as wearing a black leather jacket, red sleeper fleece pants, and a beanie-style hat, the same outfit he was seen in on November 10.

Willis’ mother traveled from Huslia to Fairbanks after he went missing, and spent 8 months there organizing search parties.

In 2021 Willis’ family hired a private investigator, but unfortunately they were unable to turn up any new leads.

Willis’ father died in December 2021 without ever knowing what happened to his son.

Between 2020 and 2021, seven other people went missing in the Fairbanks area around the same time as Willis Derendoff, including Doren Sanford, but authorities don’t believe the missing cases are related.

Whereabouts

The circumstances of Willis Derendoff’s disappearance remain unclear and his case is currently classified as missing. His case remains unsolved.

Appearance

Physical Description:
American Indian/Alaska Native male born on November 1, 1986. Willis has black hair, brown eyes, stands 5’9 tall, and weighs 160 pounds.

Distinctive Physical Features:
Willis has a tattoo of “Traci” on the side of one hand, “R.J.W.” on the other hand between the thumb and forefinger, and “sometimes quiet is violent” on his forearm running from his elbow to wrist.

Clothing and accessories:
Willis was last seen wearing a black leather jacket and red sleeper fleece pants. He was possibly wearing a Raiders beanie hat.

Investigating Agency

If you have any information regarding the disappearance of Willis Derendoff please contact the Alaska State Troopers at (907) 269-5511, or the Fairbanks Police Department at (907) 450-6500. Agency Case Number: AK20086592

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