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Missing man found after family spots him in news photo

Missing man found after family spots him in news photo

A man who went missing shortly after New Year’s Day has been located after his family saw a photo of him in a recent news story about the cold weather.

From USA Today:

A man missing since Wednesday was located in Washington, D.C., after his photo appeared in a Rochester, N.Y., edition of USA TODAY.

Nicholas A. Simmons, 20, was last seen leaving his home in Greece, a suburb of Rochester, on New Year’s Day. Family members began a search for him by contacting local news media and posting on Facebook.

In a strange twist, family members told local police they saw a man in a photograph published by USA TODAY in Sunday’s Democrat and Chronicle who looked like Simmons.

The Associated Press photo ran with coverage of cold weather sweeping across the country. The caption identified a homeless man named “Nick” wrapped in a blanket just blocks from the U.S. Capitol on Saturday.

Sunday night, Greece police said they contacted police in Washington, who located Simmons.

That photograph was taken by Associated Press photographer Jacquelyn Martin while documenting the cold temperatures in Washington DC.  The photo was then featured in the subsequent news report.

Shortly after publication of that article, the USA Today reporter, Natalie DiBlasio, received a tweet from the missing man’s sister, which read, “please contact me. you wrote an article for USA today that features a picture of my missing brother.”

DiBlasio in turn contacted the AP photographer on Twitter.  USA Today explains what happened after that.

DiBlasio put Michelle Simmons in touch with Martin, whom would later guide longtime Simmons family friends from Fairfax Station, Va., to the spot outside the Federal Trade Commission building where she had taken the photograph.

The family friends, Peter and Cindy Gugino, and Martin eventually found Simmons, and police later picked him up.

The missing man has since been reunited with his father and brother at the hospital, according to USA Today.

Police in New York indicated that they had not had any leads in the case until that photo had been published.

Read the full story at USA Today.  The Washington Post also has a detailed account of the story.

(Featured image credit: Jacquelyn Martin/AP USA Today video clip)


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nordic_prince | January 6, 2014 at 5:27 pm

Something here doesn’t make sense. The guy’s been missing less than a week and in that short time he’s managed to transform himself into a homeless bum? Generally speaking, people don’t up and leave like that, and besides, if you’re going to become a homeless bum, go bum in Florida or someplace warm if you absolutely have to do it in the dead of winter. Very strange, and I’ll bet there’s more to this than meets the eye ~

    Henry Hawkins in reply to nordic_prince. | January 6, 2014 at 5:37 pm

    Two possibilities as I see it: (1) onset of schizophrenia is common in late teens/early twenties, or (2) junior has a drug problem family was unaware of, at least as to its depth.

Which suggests a partial solution to the homeless problem. Have the police take pictures of homeless people on the street and shelters and submit their photos to the missing person’s data base. It should be a straight forward matter for the police to pick up and then contact the family reporting the person so they can make arrangements to bring them home.

    You can take the idea further creating a database which lets the public assign a homeless person to a leftist politician, limo-lib celebrity or CNN talking head of their choice.

    Henry Hawkins in reply to dscott. | January 6, 2014 at 8:13 pm

    As a career substance abuse professional, I’ve had a lot of experience with the homeless, albeit limited to the Raleigh, NC area, which renders this as anecdotal given our mild climate, but the one thing that most surprised me was how many of them chose to remain homeless once there and would refuse living quarters set up by the Social Services folks in Wake County government.

Clearly this is Bush’s fault.

    Henry Hawkins in reply to snopercod. | January 6, 2014 at 9:19 pm

    I had neglected to consider that. You’re right. George W. Bush has done absolutely nothing to help this young man’s situation and instead spends his days puttering around the painting easel. It is shameful.

You’re almost right. George W. Bush President Obama has done absolutely nothing to help this young man’s situation or that of other homeless people and instead spends his days practicing his puttingputtering around the painting easel. It is shameful.

Fixed it for you.