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When people Go Missing
Old 03-28-2014, 02:10 PM   #1
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When people Go Missing

My building is pretty small, and we have no resident manager. Some people stay to themselves, and others are much more outgoing. I know several of the younger couples, and the young woman across the hallway from me, and a few of the owner-residents. Some of these single guys are prone to becoming depressed. One guy about my age, I have always made an effort to be friendly to, as he is a high quality person who is also terribly shy.

Recently he has gone missing for about one week. I checked with a few other residents who have not seen him either. He is usually visible because he is our landscaper, and also he doesn't drive so he can be seen entering and leaving the building. He drinks, alone, and as I say he is depression prone. Especially long sieges of poor weather get to him. I don't think he has a girlfriend or boyfriend, or perhaps no friends at all- I have never seen anyone with him, in 2 1/2 years. I know he has no children, no ex-wife and no sibs that he is still in contact with.

I am concerned that he may have fallen and been injured, and we won't see him until his flat starts stinking. He isn't frail, in fact he appears to be in excellent physical condition, but I know that he falls, likely when drinking, because he lives above me and I have had heavy drinking older neighbors before, and know the patterns.

He used to pick up his paper at the entryway, and drop mine off as he passed by my floor since he arises early. But for the last week I have been picking up his, and they are just collecting outside his door where I drop them. I knocked on his door and got no response, but I also know that depressed guys can go into hibernation where they do not want to be bothered and particularly do not want to relate to anyone.

I am pretty sure he would tell me if he were going on a trip, as I make it a point to tell him when I expect to be gone a while, like during my surgery and recovery stay at my GF's. Still, one never knows with these very shy people. He is cognitively sharp.

So I don't want to interfere, but I would hate it if is he is up there dead or worse yet dying. What would you do? Anything?

Ha
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Old 03-28-2014, 02:24 PM   #2
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I'd knock on the door to tell him that his papers are just collecting there. If he didn't answer, I would do it at several different times of the day. Also I would alert the neighbors and ask them what they think.

If no answer after a couple of days, I'd call 311 and ask them what they would suggest.

This reminds me a little of trying to collect money from customers on my paper routes 45 years ago. Sometimes they would just not answer the door.

My colleague found her father-in-law two days after he had fallen on the floor of his home and he could not get up. They broke into his home. He was still alive, but had not eaten in a couple of days.
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Old 03-28-2014, 02:26 PM   #3
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Call your rental office. I wouldn't say anything about drinking and falling. They may have emergency contact information. I'm sure they would want to know if there was a body. Takes forever to get the smell out.
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Old 03-28-2014, 02:29 PM   #4
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I'd beat on the door a few more times, call his number, and then get the rental office to check on him.
I'm a worrier, and I stalk my depression-prone friends relentlessly if they don't check in pretty often.
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Old 03-28-2014, 02:45 PM   #5
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You could ask local police to do a wellness check. My inlaws did that once to us. Police were happy to drop by, look in the windows, etc. to see if all was well.
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Old 03-28-2014, 02:50 PM   #6
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Not seen in a week, is not good sign, given past activity pattern. A human can can go without food no adverse affects for 4 to 6 days. Without water not many days. If the fellow is ill, he is in dire straights. Getting in may still save him. Would he want to be saved is an unknown.

Since on regular speaking terms, doubt it would be seen as intrusion, especially if conscious, by attempting to get him to respond to door knocking etc..
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Old 03-28-2014, 03:00 PM   #7
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You could ask local police to do a wellness check. My inlaws did that once to us. Police were happy to drop by, look in the windows, etc. to see if all was well.
I think this is a good idea, ha. Since you live below him and haven't heard any activity in several days, plus the accumulating newspapers, you would not be overreacting to do so. The police most likely won't tell him who called them.
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Old 03-28-2014, 03:02 PM   #8
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If this were an apartment it would be easy- there is always an owner or manager. But this is just a small condo building and so really no central authority. I think I'll go up and pound again, then there as a responsible person who lives next to him and I can try to contact him.

Next step likely police, as we don't have a key. I hate to think that his door might get damaged or something that might cost him money if he only decided to go to Portland for a week or something.

Ha
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Old 03-28-2014, 03:05 PM   #9
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If he was planning on a trip I would expect he would stop the newspaper. The newspapers that are building up in front of his door are a good indicator that something is wrong. He could possibly have taken sick and be in a hospital, but it is likely someone in the building would have seen an emergency team coming in the building.

I hope you contact the police and see if they will do a welfare check on him. You are wise to be concerned.
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Old 03-28-2014, 03:09 PM   #10
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Update. I called the guy above who lives next to the man I was worried about. He told me a hospital called him to try to get some information, since our neighbor apparently had a stroke.

One of the guys who lives here has been to see him, so I'll call him for more information but I think he is in one of the hospitals right around here so I can visit him.

I was pleased to see a good spirit of cooperation and concern, even though this guy is not easy to get to know. Thanks for all the suggestions.

Ha
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Old 03-28-2014, 03:12 PM   #11
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Hope he found a nice lady and is in lust.

That said, if I were in his situation I'd be happy someone thought enough to check up. I'd go the knock on the door, building manager route first. But if you have to call police. Depression and alcohol can be dangerous.
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Old 03-28-2014, 03:16 PM   #12
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Update. I called the guy above who lives next to the man I was worried about. He told me a hospital called him to try to get some information, since our neighbor apparently had a stroke.

One of the guys who lives here has been to see him, so I'll call him for more information but I think he is in one of the hospitals right around here so I can visit him.

I was pleased to see a good spirit of cooperation and concern, even though this guy is not easy to get to know. Thanks for all the suggestions.

Ha
It's good you found out what is going on with him. I'm sure he will appreciate a visit from you while he is in the hospital. He may not be able to come home soon though depending on the impact of the stroke. Hope he recovers and comes back home soon.
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Old 03-28-2014, 03:34 PM   #13
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If this were an apartment it would be easy- there is always an owner or manager. But this is just a small condo building and so really no central authority.
I think you might be giving up too soon on this front.

Just for example, if there were major damage to the building (truck crashes into it, whatever), there would be someone responsible for getting it repaired. Everyone who lives in the building should at least have the name, address, and phone number of that person, so you could give it to the police when they arrive.

The same principle applies to your quest here. Congratulations on getting to the bottom of it, by the way. This might be a good little project for you to get organized in the near future. Since you're a relatively new resident, you might even be the only one who doesn't have this information.

In any event, that responsible person would probably be able to get a police officer and a locksmith to show up at the same time, open the missing person's door without doing any damage, and make a quick check.
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Old 03-28-2014, 03:43 PM   #14
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I'm glad you found out what happened to him. Hope the stroke wasn't bad and he can return to his home.
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Old 03-28-2014, 03:49 PM   #15
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In any event, that responsible person would probably be able to get a police officer and a locksmith to show up at the same time, open the missing person's door without doing any damage, and make a quick check.
I'm retired law enforcement and you're right, they do that all the time, no issue. The two main things are:

1. Is there a reason to enter the home.
2. Does the person requesting entrance have the right to do so. That is, is that person a building manager or owner?

That's never an issue with an apartment/condo manager - it's in the lease or condo agreement. If there's a plumbing leak and the occupant is on vacation, who takes care of that?

If it's a concerned friend/neighbor, there has to be a bit more reason to force entry if no key is available though. I'd look at things like "Have the newspapers/mail ever piled up before?" and talk to all the neighbors about that sort of thing. Then we'd call the fire department to do the actual forced entry. That was pretty rare though.

What's described there is certainly reason to believe that the occupant may be ill/injured and should be checked on.
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Old 03-28-2014, 04:46 PM   #16
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Kinda reminds me of this recent case in my neck of the woods. Don't put your bills on autopay, or they won't look for you until you are way past dead.

Mummified Woman in Detroit Suburb Likely Dead 6 Years - ABC News
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Old 03-28-2014, 04:58 PM   #17
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Update. I called the guy above who lives next to the man I was worried about. He told me a hospital called him to try to get some information, since our neighbor apparently had a stroke.

One of the guys who lives here has been to see him, so I'll call him for more information but I think he is in one of the hospitals right around here so I can visit him.

I was pleased to see a good spirit of cooperation and concern, even though this guy is not easy to get to know. Thanks for all the suggestions.

Ha
So glad to hear that your neighbor is safe in the hospital. I am sure he would appreciate a visit and knowing that somebody cares. Having had a stroke, he may or may not be able to communicate much right now.
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Old 03-28-2014, 05:21 PM   #18
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Yes, good to know that he is being taken care of now. It also shows that another step is to contact the nearest hospital to see if the missing person is there, before trying to get into someone's home.
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Old 03-28-2014, 06:45 PM   #19
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I just wanted to say that I think that you are a good person, haha.
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Old 03-28-2014, 08:05 PM   #20
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You are a good neighbor, Ha. It is much better to find out that he is in the hospital than dead upstairs. I'm sure he would appreciate a visit.

This is a situation in which many of us singles could find ourselves. Have you given any thought to setting up a neighborhood watch for your building? Is there a building manager? The Board or their manager delegate must have contact information for all the residents.
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