Connecticut PD Reunites Carmel Man Missing for 22 Years With Family
A Putnam County man who has been missing since 1994 was reunited with his family thanks to the persistent work from officers in Connecticut.
On Saturday morning, a man named John walked into the New Haven Police Department to turn himself for an outstanding warrant.
Police ran the homeless man’s name through a system but couldn’t find any reason as to why John was turning himself in. Officers talked with John, realized he wasn’t in danger, provided him with shelter options, and sent him on his way.
"It was strange, most people who turn themselves in only to find they’re not wanted walk away elated,” Lt. Brendan Hosey said. “This was different. He was trying to convince me he was a wanted man.”
In Putnam County, a Kent Police Officer noticed the New Haven police search. The officer was familiar with John’s family and knew the family has been looking for him for decades.
The officer got in touch with John’s mom, who lives in Carmel, and told her that they believed her son, who she hadn't seen in 22 years, was found.
On Monday, New Haven police spoke with John’s mother and confirmed that the man she said was her son stopped by the police department.
Officers began to search local shelters. Detectives spent several hours but couldn’t find John.
On Tuesday, John’s mother, two daughters, brother and cousin left Putnam County and headed to New Haven. The mother told police that John was a huge Grateful Dead fan, who spent years following the California rock band.
The mother believed John disappeared while following the band in 1994 for his alleged involvement in a marijuana growing operation in North Carolina.
After talking with authorities, it was determined that the man who wanted to turn himself in could have been the missing Hudson Valley man.
Before leaving, John’s brother requested an image from the surveillance camera system in hopes of seeing a photo of his brother.
After meeting the family, New Haven Detectives went back out to find John. As they approached one man, he stopped and raised his hands in the air.
“Am I in trouble?” he asked. “Are you here about the warrant?”
Police handed John a photo of him taken over 22 years ago. He looked at it, folded it four times and held it to his chest, officials said.
Authorities told John that they just met his family. John said he’d love to see them.
Moments later, John and his estranged family were reunited. John recognized his sister, Liz, and his mother right away, police say.
“You look like my mom,” he said to his sister Liz. He then he looked at his mother and said, “You look like my grandmother.”
After talking for some time, John told his family he had to leave to make it to the shelter or he’d have nowhere warm to sleep that night.
John’s family told him he could come with them.
With tears in the eyes of officers and family members, John agreed. John, his mother, sisters, brother and cousins left together in the family's SUV.
In the few days that have passed, the family says all is well. After 22 years, John is finally home.
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