Brian Gewirtz is STILL missing. The 20-year-old autistic man went missing on Feb. 17 from his Marine Park home, clad in a maroon and gray-stripped sweater, blue jeans, tan work boots and a black hooded jacket.
Last Sunday afternoon in the frigid weather, family members, colleagues and friends who’ve watched the news reports or seen the missing posters gathered inside Union Square’s DSW lobby in Manhattan to spread out the search efforts to hospitals and homeless shelters.
Brian’s curly-haired brother Christopher stood in the lobby holding an iPad and discussed with other volunteers a plan to move forward in that afternoon’s snowy weather.
Just a day earlier, the family went subway stations in Brooklyn at 5:30 a.m. to hand out posters that had a picture of Brian, who also suffers from diabetes.
Steven Gewirtz, Brian’s dad, hugged friends as they entered through the doors. The father’s shy demeanor was evident as he held his head low while he spoke to the Eagle.
“Without his medication, he’s probably disoriented and confused,” Steven Gewirtz said.
Information on Missing Persons: A Hard Find
The search has been a tedious one for the family and has united the community to help search for Brian. It was also what brought Heather Arabadjis, a Queens resident, in touch with the Gewirtzes. Arabadjis’ father Phil went missing five days before Brian in Queens.
“Both families are uniting because of one cause. We both want to find our loved one, and we are going to work together,” Arabadjis said.
Arabadjis detailed the hurdles that need to be cleared to get specific information that would aid the search for a missing person. She said homeless shelters refuse to share surveillance footage, making it harder for families who want to find any trace of their family member. And then there are hospitals.
“In terms of hospitals, there’s a missing persons liaison. So, when you call up, you don’t know that,” Arabadjis said.
Teaming up with the Gewirtzes has proven to be helpful to both families. “We are trying to go through administrations from hospitals, instead of admissions,” Arabadjis said.
Evidently still distraught, Steven Gewirtz talked about his missing son’s love for pets, saying, “He’s very good natured. He’s kind to others, to animals. He was volunteering at an animal shelter in Brooklyn and basically took the dogs that were rescued for walks.”
The support for Brian has also prompted his friends and family to setup a Facebook page called “Find Brian Gewirtz” for updates.
And their efforts were nearly successful.
“What I find very frustrating is there was a potential sighting of him on Friday in Brooklyn and we only found out about it on Saturday morning, 16 hours later,” he said.
The Arabadjis and Gewirtzes aren’t losing hope of finding their family members and continue to hand out flyers to passers-by.
“If somebody were to just recognize my son, I would appreciate a prompt call to the police so that he can be returned home and he can get all the medical care he needs and we can go on with our lives and not be a burden to anybody else,” said Gewirtz.
If you have information on Brian Gewirtz, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 911.