49-year-old Jose Reyes walked away from his home on Sunday morning. Wednesday afternoon, his family and the police were still looking for him.
Reyes moved to Pueblo from Utah with his family about eight months ago. He has a history of seizures and the competency of a third-grader. Due to his mental aptitude, Reyes’ family tried to keep him close to home.
They were trying to get him to stay in a three block radius, but fear one of his seizures may have disoriented him and he subsequently wandered off. Police and family members have searched all over the east side of Pueblo so far. Many people say they saw the man over the last few days, each time farther and farther from his home.
Wednesday afternoon Pueblo Police detectives, in the Crimes Against People Division, decided to start looking in the central part of the city. They would start by talking to transients, seeking information about someone walking around the streets of town, from those who spend a good deal of their time on them.
Detectives James Oloia and Jeff Shay allowed me to accompany them as they visited known transient sites. It didn’t take us long to find one, and he gave them promising information. “He gave some information, seemed to recognize the picture, so we felt it was worth following up on,” says Oloia.
That information led them to several other people, some of which also mentioned they had seen the missing man recently. The information was helpful, but not as much as they hoped for. “It’s frustrating for us because it’s so much different than other crimes that we deal with. These types of cases are more of getting out there, showing pictures, talking with people,” explains Oloia.
But even talking with people was giving investigators and the family hope. People kept telling them Reyes had been seen, and they could only hope they were getting closer to finding him.
Meanwhile, Reyes’ family reflected on how difficult this whole ordeal has been. “We always looked out for one another,” says Enrique Reyes, Jose’s younger brother. The family was close, and Enrique remembers the times Jose helped him stay out of trouble.
That’s why Enrique went looking for Jose the night he disappeared. “I was scared and trying not to think the worst,” says Enrique. Now, four days later, Jose is still missing. His soon-to-be sister-in-law says she is scared he may not return safely.
The police share that concern. Not only is Jose not taking his seizure medication, it’s been extremely hot this week. “It’s been in the 90’s, close to 100, the past few days,” and without proper hydration Jose could be in serious trouble.
Most of the afternoon, people were telling police they had seen Jose on Monday. It wasn’t until late in the afternoon someone mentioned seeing him yesterday. They planned to check out the area where he was seen in hopes of finding him nearby. But if they can’t track him down there, they plan to check the local soup kitchen in the morning.
Many of the people searchers talked to Wednesday afternoon mentioned seeing him in the company of homeless people.
Reyes’ family mentioned that he was extremely friendly and enjoyed drinking. Police suspect he may have gotten his hands on some alcohol and shared it with transients, and that he may be staying with these new friends.