WASHINGTON COUNTY, Pa. - Search crews spent several hours Wednesday looking for a missing 90-year-old man in Washington County, but called off the search as severe weather hit the area.
Now, George Pochiba's family members organized a search of their own Thursday. Pochiba’s daughter, Neva Pochiba-Neizmik, helped organize Thursday’s search.
“Certainly as his family, I want people to continue to search, but I realize they serve the whole community, not just one person. I feel they’ve done their best,” Pochiba-Neizmik said. “Today our focus is looking in buildings, sheds, barns, ravines, rivers, tiny gullies and areas he could have fallen into.”
Family members said Pochiba walked away from his home in Scenery Hill of off Route 40 around 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. That's where volunteers met Thursday to begin an independent search.
The family issued a statement Thursday saying, “Since the authorities have called off the search, it is up to family, friends and neighbors to continue the search. All citizens in nearby townships should search their properties thoroughly including any building structures, vehicles, creeks, gullies, even trees or bushes. Please also report any suspicious activity related to this matter.”
State police said Pochiba was spotted Tuesday night around 8 p.m. near a farm. The person who saw him said he or she wasn’t aware that Pochiba was missing and didn’t suspect anything wrong.
Crews were in the area searching for Pochiba, who family members said suffers from dementia, throughout the night Tuesday and all day Wednesday.
“I don’t think he could have wandered too far, but if anyone picked him up please notify someone as soon as possible,” Pochiba’s niece Carol Logar said. “Please, anybody, call just as soon as you get information. Thank you.”
Pochiba was last seen wearing blue pants and a blue flannel shirt. Investigators said he walks with a cane.
Family members said moments before Pochiba went missing, he told family members he wanted to “go feed the animals.”
“Everybody knows he has major dementia. He doesn’t wander far. He goes to his garden, just sits on his porch. He’s never done this before, but with Alzheimer’s patients it’s very hard to keep the doors locked and keep an eye on him 24/7,” said one family member.
Pochiba’s family members were thankful Wednesday for all the help they’ve been receiving.