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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