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Reporting on missing persons

by Pat Dooris

Bio | Email | Follow: @PatDoorisKGW

Posted on June 20, 2007 at 6:43 PM

Updated Wednesday, Nov 4 at 2:39 PM

by Pat Dooris

I can not imagine how terrifying it must be to have someone from your family vanish.

I reported today on the search for the missing Catholic priest from California, Fr. David Schwartz.
He's vanished along with a vacation buddy, Cheryl Gibbs, after stopping at a hotel here in Portland.

I've covered a fair number of missing stories---the ones that haunt me involve young children. I shudder at the imagined condition of a child who is lost and alone and terrified and in danger of death.

That is not the case here---Fr. Schwartz and Cheryl Gibbs are adults and in good shape and experienced in the wilderness according to Schwartz's family.

Still---you cant help but wonder what's happened?

The family says the two are not romantically involved---and if they wanted to run away from their lives they could have easily done it any number of times over the last 15 years they've known each other.

We do know they left their luggage at their hotel in Portland. Police wont tell us which hotel---so we can't learn anything more from workers there.

But we also know they have been quiet in a very loud way in our wired world.

Police say for 12 days now, they have not used an atm, a cell phone, sent an email or bumped into anyone else.

That is alarming---and to police---a tad bit suspicious. They're going on the asumption the travellers have driven off a road in some remote area outside the Portland area.

That brings its own bit of terror to the imagination. Are they stuck in their car and hurt in a ravine somewhere? Are they struggling to get out but need help? Are they wondering when their prayers will be answered---and the days will stop plodding along as they wait for rescue?

I'm sure its part of the terrifying reel of images that must run through the minds of those who love them.

Hopefully the imagination will be replaced by a happy ending and an incredible rescue. Hopefully.