My brother is missing.
He left Bethesda Mission in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania four weeks ago with a wad of cash (courtesy of Social Security) and an intent to head to Illinois to pay my parents a visit. He never made it there and hasn’t been seen since.
I started getting phone calls a couple of weeks ago, first from a health care representative who wanted to know if I’d heard from Joe. It seems that he is required to check in with the facility since he’s been treated there, and he has done so consistently, until recently.
The last place Joe was seen, Bethesda Mission, had to send back one of his checks from Social Security since he hasn’t checked in to leave a forwarding address or to retrieve it. I’ve known my brother for 52 years, and there’s no way he wouldn’t seek out money intended for him.
Joe could be anywhere: beat up in an alley, lying dead from an overdose in a hotel room, partying with new friends, plotting to hurt family members who have turned on him for “no reason.” I want, need closure, so I’ve put in a phone call to the police department in Harrisburg, PA to file a missing persons report and am waiting for a return call. The officer on duty grilled me about Joe’s residence.
“What’s his address?” he asked me.
“He was at Bethesda Mission, but he’s basically homeless.” I told him.
His response? That it will be hard to track down a homeless person.