WACONIA, Minn. (WCCO) — The wife of a missing Waconia man is thanking the community for the love and support in the search for her husband.

For the first time, Katie Stifter, shared details of the emotional days since her husband went missing while paddle boarding on Lake Waconia.

Andrew Stifter, 35, left Saturday to paddle board and take pictures on Lake Waconia. He told his wife he’d be home within an hour and half but he never returned. Law enforcement have been searching the land and water for any sign of him.

Inside the Stifter home and you cannot miss the love that’s on display. Dozens of family pictures line the walls and tables.
The images of the happy family capture a doting father of two and affectionate husband of 10 years.

“Andy loved his family. He lived for the kids and I,” Katie Stifter said. “He brought laughter into our house. That’s one of the reasons I married him because he’s so funny, we just love him.”

For the last nine days, love and laughter have been replaced with pain and worry as Katie has watched the massive search unfold on Lake Waconia.

Law enforcement are scouring the area where it’s believed Andy was paddle boarding. Every day, search crews return with no answers.

“At the end of each day, when there’s no answers, it’s torture,” Katie said.

Friends and family have offered help. Dozens joined the search in the days following his disappearance.

“It’s sort of surreal. They’re actually looking for my husband,” she said.

Loved ones are also showing support to Andy’s growing family. Katie is 18 weeks pregnant. She’s seen a steady stream of friends, neighbors, even strangers bringing food, cards, and offering to help

“He’s loved by so many. really a very quiet man, but very loved,” Katie said.

That support has allowed Katie to give her kids a few moments of normalcy. Sunday night she and her kids decorated the Christmas tree.

“A little moment of happiness because they love decorating the tree,” Katie said.

While Katie knows there is the possibility of an unimaginable outcome, but she’s not ready to give up the search.

“I think we have to find him. Our family has to have some peace, just hoping we find him,” Katie said.

If you’d like to help, you can donate to a Gofundme account set up to help the family.

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