His father says he went down there to check the tide and look under the dock for fishing bait. But John never returned home and his father doesn't believe he ever will.
"He was kind of my buddy, you know," said George Pratsinak.
Pratsinak and his 30-year-old son were practically inseparable. They worked together. They fished together.
"He's never done anything like this before," said the elder Pratsinak.
When Pratsinak's youngest son disappeared December 24, he left his wallet, car keys and cell phone behind.
"I mean, there's always hope, but three tracking dogs tracked to the dock, so we figured he fell in," said Pratsinak.
Water rescue teams have done several grid searches and police have searched by air and along the banks of the Swift Creek trying to find clues. Meanwhile, a father struggles with the unknown.
"It's harder than losing a parent," Pratsinak said.
Almost three weeks have passed, Pratsinak says his hope recedes daily with the tide, leaving him hanging on to the words last exchanged with his son. "He may have had a reaction to medicine he was taking, but the last thing I said was, ‘I love you, John,’ and he said, ‘I love you, dad.’"
If somehow John Pratsinak is still out there, his dad is begging his son to please come home. If you know anything about his disappearance, call Colonial Heights Police.