UPDATE 9:43pm--We just found Nick sitting at the bus stop in front of Disneyland. He had been there all night. After 36 hours he's on his way home now.
MORE--His Dad and the detective in the family were driving down to cruise the Boulevard, so I decided to head over and check the places that I knew Nick would know. As I pulled up alongside Disneyland, I looked over at the bus stop and there he was sitting all alone. As I drove further up to make a U-turn at the light, I called his Dad and told him I found him. They were five minutes away, so they told me to watch him from a distance. I was able to drive past him again to the nearby Disneyland drop-off lot. I parked and crept back across the street, hiding behind the monorail pillars just out of sight. That's where I called Frugal Granny and asked her to post the news.
I saw their truck pull up and the family member who is a police detective got out and approached him. I could see him ease into it and talk real quietly to Nick, feeling him out and assessing his mental state. After about a minute or so, Nick got into the truck and the cop came over to me to tell me it was OK to come talk to him.
It turns out that Nick had come back to meet me yesterday morning as planned, but for some reason he had gone to the opposite end of the main entrance gates. When he didn't find me, he became worried that I had been in a wreck or something. He ended up sitting on the bench at the Bus Stop all night and most of today. Unfortunately he entered Disneyland today with his Annual Pass just shortly before the system was flagged to stop him.
We still don't fully understand why he didn't call his father (he did not, in fact, have my phone number with him). I'm choking up again as I write this. It has been a roller coaster of a day--more than 12 hours now. Thanks again to everyone for your support and concern. It has been more than I could have imagined. Thank you so much.
Here's the original diary:
I'm holding vigil here at home by myself, waiting and hoping to hear something. I just got back from the Police Department reporting my friend missing. He was visiting from Ventura County and went missing yesterday at Disneyland.
I'm in contact with his father who is also from that area, and both of us are scouring our memories for possible scenarios for him.
I was sitting here reading the latest posts while biding my time and it occurred to me to reach out to our Kossack community. More after the jump.
My friend Nick is one of my fellow amputee acquaintances from before I moved to the SF Bay area last century. We were out of touch for over five years, but I found him a couple of years ago and we have spent time together several times a year since then. Now that I am back in SoCal he takes the train down every two or three months and we terrorize Disneyland together.
Nick is a sweet guy who has lived through more than any one person should have to. He was born with multiple birth defects, missing his left arm, and with facial anomolies like a crooked head and a tendency to go cross-eyed when nervous that can be off-putting to new people. He also has some scoliosis and the left side of his body has a narrower shoulder and flat chest.
As if this weren't enough, his birth mother left him with his father just after he was born, but kept his siblings. Then he had to endure an abusive step mother in his early years, and later some abusive romantic relationships with men. I used to think I was the first person he had ever been close to (other than his father) who had treated him with love and kindness.
In recent years he has battled paranoia and depression. He now lives on SSDI with Medicaid and subsidized housing. But he lives independently in a studio apartment and gets around on an inexpensive motor scooter. He has worked hard to get some stability in his life and has found some equilibrium as long as he stays on his meds.
He took the train down on Sunday so we could go ride the new rides at Disneyland. We spent a long day there Sunday (our Fast Passes for Star Tours weren't until 11:20 pm). We're both huge Star Wars fans and we were blown away at the new ride. After taking Monday off to rest (because my hi-tech prosthetic foot broke, I'm hobbling around on an old cut-rate foot, so I use my wheelchair for long distances) we went back to Disneyland yesterday.
The day started identically to Sunday--I dropped Nick off at the front gate to go get our Fast Passes for Star Tours (they run out for the day before noon and the stand-by line is anywhere from two-to-five hours long!) while I parked the car on a city street and took the city bus back to save on the $15 parking fee. On Sunday, this worked out perfectly--we met back at the main entrance 45 minutes later. But yesterday, Nick never showed up. It only took me a half hour to get back and I waited for over two hours.
Since Nick had my annual pass with him in order to get our Fast Passes from the dispenser, I had to go to a ticket window and get a courtesy paper pass to get in (after waiting for him for over two hours). I went to Tomorrowland and looked through the standby line in case he had thought he could catch a ride while the line was shorter, but there was no sign of him. I went back to the front gate. Now it was close to three hours I had been waiting.
He didn't have a cell phone and I don't know for sure if he had my phone numbers in his wallet. But I know for sure that in an emergency he knows his father's phone number and his father says he knows he can always get ahold of his step brother who is a detective on a local police department.
It's been more than 24 hours and we haven't heard from him. I called Disneyland Security (I used to work there and my cousin worked security a long time ago) and they were very helpful. Security had no record of him yesterday, Guest Relations had nothing in their log under either of our names, and the system had no use of his Annual Pass today to enter the park, etc.
His meds, train ticket, and house keys are at my house. He does have an ATM card and some cash. It's conceivable he could get a motel room, or take the train back home. His dad has called his apt. manager in case he needs to be let into his apt.
Anaheim Police were extremely concerned and helpful on the phone and a Supervisor even called me back. She asked me to go over to my local Police Dept. in the neighboring city where I live (it's actually three blocks away) and complete a missing person's report. So now he's in the system and they are checking "the usual places". They can also request Amtrak to check their manifests.
So now we wait.
Nick can function on his own, but sometimes he has poor judgement. He might be pissed at me if he thinks I abandoned him, but his dad assures me that I did the reasonable thing--If Nick couldn't call me he could call his dad at any time.
I'm beside myself here. I go back and forth between expecting to hear from any minute to fearing for his safety. On a good day he functions relatively well (although he has trouble tackling new situations). On a bad day he can have a lot more problems. His father and I have been over and over this now in several conversations. So far we haven't come up with anything that we think could be predictive of his behavior.
Thanks for letting me vent all this. I'm on an emotional roller coaster--his dad and I both want to wring his neck, but then I start getting choked up worrying about him. OK, so I'll hug him and squeeze him until he can't breathe and THEN I'll throttle him!
I just hope he's OK--he's a guy who hasn't gotten too many breaks in life.
Thanks for listening, everyone. I really appreciate it.
3:09 PM PT: I just got a call from my local PD and they are having his apt. checked and then will upload him to the Missing Person's database.
Additionally, I just spoke with his family member who is a Police Homocide Detective and he has his hands in it and will pursue Disneyland Security cams, etc. He advises that things like flyers or canvassing the area are premature.
Thanks for all the suggestions and the hand-holding.
3:22 PM PT: I'm overwhelmed--I just checked the tip jar and diary recommends. Thank you all so much. I don't know why I even thought twice to post this. I guess I felt guilty. It's like I told his Dad a little while ago--he got lost on my watch; it was MY turn to watch him. LOL
4:03 PM PT: Progress Report--I just heard back from one of the officers and they are in full response mode now. Disneyland and Anaheim PD are following their protocol and circulating his picture and description. We're waiting to hear back from Amtrak Police. Once they get his SS# they will start tracking his ATM card.
According to his family member who is a homicide detective, everything that should be done is being done. Nothing is falling through the cracks so far and every agency is responding pro-actively. I'm thankful that we have access to an expert who can gauge this for us.
4:32 PM PT: I want to emphasize to everyone that all parties involved, including Disneyland and Anaheim PD, have been very responsive and concerned. I have zero complaints so far (and I'm sure there are some folks around here who need to be revived on hearing that homogenius can't find something to complain about!).
I believe that law enforcement is responding appropriately considering Nick's condition and history. We're getting A-1 professional advice. I especially want to emphasize that I know Disney very well and I believe they are engaged and taking this seriously.
Thanks again for the kind support--it's what's keeping me going.
5:20 PM PT: Just heard from the detective in the family. Everything is now implemented. We only have one hit from his ATM card so far, and that's for the Star Tours t-shirt he had planned to buy. The timestamp fits for the time of day I predicted we would get our Fast Passes for.
We already have one report from a Disney employee who may have seen him on a city bus in front of Disneyland this morning. There are some additional leads that are being pursued. All local ERs and the morgue have his picture and description, as do the buses and Amtrak.
Boy, when the system kicks in, it really moves! So we wait....
8:01 PM PT: I'm getting ready to go out and check the streets and retrace my steps. Nick's Dad and the Police Detective in the family are driving down to do the same.
I'll update later. Thanks again, everyone--I'm deeply touched.
Thu Jun 09, 2011 at 12:25 AM PT: FINAL UPDATE--WOW! I can't believe there have been almost 4000 views of this diary and over 500 recs in my tip jar. This means people have been checking back and/or refreshing repeatedly. I've had a good cry over the fact that Nick was so afraid something had happened to me that he wouldn't leave. Frugal Granny has been on the phone talking me down--I think I'm off the adrenaline now enough to sleep.
THANKS AGAIN TO ONE AND ALL--I DON'T KNOW WHAT I WOULD HAVE DONE. Good night.