Just a few months ago, when Andrew Koenig, best known as Richard "Boner" Stabone on the sitcom Growing Pains
, was asked by PEOPLE if he would participate in a Where Are They Now? story, his response was positive, if a bit unenthusiastic. "Sure," he replied, before adding sarcastically, "What else am I doing?"
Then, his comments seemed self-deprecating. Now, nobody's laughing: On Feb. 18, two days after Koenig, 41, failed to return home from a trip to Canada, where he was visiting friends, his worried parents, spurred by a troubling note from the actor, reported him missing to the Vancouver police department.
"He sounded despondent," says his dad, Walter Koenig (who played Chekov on the series Star Trek
). "It's been part of his makeup for a long time. There's no single trauma."
Recently, Koenig had taken a renewed interest in his career: He shot a trailer for a film he wanted to direct, and in January he asked his agent Bonnie Black to find him work on one of his favorite television shows, Fringe
"People were calling [with projects], a small film, some shorts," Black says. But when no big roles presented themselves, his attitude changed. Earlier this year, "he said, 'I don't want to do that.' He wasn't interested."
Even more disconcerting? Three weeks ago Koenig got rid of nearly all his possessions and moved out of the Venice, Calif., home where he'd lived for nine years. "It started off as a garage sale, but eventually, he put everything out in front of the apartment," says neighbor Mark Clough. "He cleared it out."
With his cell phone showing no activity since Feb. 16, those close to Koenig are trying not to lose hope. "He's a good guy," says Black. "I'm praying he just needed to get away for a while and that he's all right."
- With Elaine Aradillas,
- Lisa Ingrassia.