Five years on, a father continues the search to find his missing son


A Quad City father is opening up about the pain a parent feels when searching for a missing child.

It is five years this week that Michael Workman’s son Fredrick went missing from the Des Moines area.

Now, anytime he hears about a child missing, it renews the pain.

In July 2018, the Iowa Public Safety Missing Person Clearinghouse lists more than 50 people under the age of 20 who have gone missing.

Michael told Local 4 and Fox 18 News his son, who was 15-years-old at the time, ran away from a youth facility in 2013.

Michael said he had handed out flyers and posters, contacted local law enforcement and the FBI and when he got a lead, got in his car and started driving.

Michael Workman said, “I have three kids, I love them all three, but my heart, my heart, and soul goes out to Freddy.”

Michael Workman said he had tried a lot of strategies to bring his now 20-year-old son Fredrick Workman home since first learning of the disappearance August 2, 2013.

Workman said, “We were on our way to Des Moines and stopped dead in the middle of the interstate, and we’d seen a cop in the middle, and we handed him a picture.”

He added, “We walked the areas. We spent I don’t know home much time up there to walk, to holler, to ask, to hand out, when we got the flyers finally, to hand out flyers.”

With little to go on and the tips not yielding the reunion he hopes for, it hasn’t been easy.

Workman said, “There were days where I’ve flipped over tables.”

Originally of Fairfield Iowa, Michael said after he and Fredrick’s mother split, he wasn’t able to have as much custody during his son’s young life, but that leaves him cherishing the time together.

Workman said, “The young flight pilot when I put him in that. The times that I got to spend with him to put him in school.”

It also includes all the time spent fishing.
But Michael said Fredrick in addition to the times filled with smiles, he did face challenges growing up including diagnosed with behavioral disorders, was abused by a family friend and had run-ins with police.

Workman said, “Freddy was breaking into cars and was put into probation.”

Michael and his wife, Fredrick’s step-mom, Brenda said he was making progress at youth facilities while on probation and getting access to treatment.

Workman said, “He was so happy just to see us come.”

Now, Workman said every time he hears or sees someone’s child has gone missing, he aches for the families because he knows how difficult it is to be in the unknown.

Workman said, “It brings back a lot.”

He said now it’s just waiting.

“My hopes, my prayers are still out there, highly. I mean I will never forget him. I will never give up. I’m not going to give up. Not in my life,” said Workman. 

An age-progressed image was release when Fredrick turned 18 to give a better idea of what he might look like now. 

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children said Fredrick is now about 5’7 and 145 pounds. Caucasian with blue eyes and blonde hair.

He also has a scar under his chin.

Fredrick may also be going by Fred and the last name Shields.

Michael said people with information could contact him 563-320-5003.

Anyone with information is also asked to contact the Des Moines Police Department at 1-515-283-4811 with sightings or information. 

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