NY Missing Man Reunited With Family After Photo Appears On Newspaper

A NY missing man has been reunited with his family thanks in part to social media and his photo appearing on USA Today.

Nicholas Simmons disappeared, seemingly without a trace, from his parents upstate New York home, leaving things behind, most people wouldn’t normally leave home without. The family found his cell, wallet, and pretty much all his belongings.

Fearing the worse, the desperate family started a Facebook page in attempts to gather any information on the 20-year-old’s whereabouts.

Four days after the man went missing, an AP photographer working on a story about how the cold weather affects homeless people, snapped a photo for USA Today.

Paul and Michelle Simmons, the missing man’s parents, saw the photo on the newspaper after someone on the Facebook page brought it to their attention.

The NY missing man’s photo was snapped in Washington, D.C. not far from the US Capitol building, as he tried to keep warm by a stream gate along with other homeless men.

His mother expressed her thanks for finding her son alive on the Facebook page.

“It could have been months before we had a lead on his whereabouts. My baby looks so lost and I will be spending the rest of my life making him well,” the NY missing man’s mom wrote.

Jacquelyn Smith –the AP photographer who took the life saving picture– was working on a piece about the extreme cold weather and how it affects those who are homeless, when she came across Simmons, unshaven, wearing a ski jacket, and blanket trying to stay warm outside the Federal Trade Commission in D.C.

Martin –who was assigned to the White House that day– spent the day walking the streets looking for homeless and how they fared in the cold, as the President and his family were out of town, on vacation in Hawaii.

She found the NY missing man along with others, in an area to where the men often come when it gets cold, introduced herself and began taking pictures.

When she spotted Simmons, Martin thought he looked very young.

“It struck me how young he was,” Martin said. “I again introduced myself and shook his hand. He said his name was Nick.”

With that, she was done for the day and went home. The next morning she had a message on her Twitter from USA Today telling her the family of the NY missing man had recognized him through his photo and wanted to find him.

Martin took to Twitter after the story made national headlines:

Police picked Nick Simmons up on Sunday, four days after he went missing from his parents’ home, and took him to a hospital where he was reunited with his father Paul and older brother Paul Jr., according to family friends.

Authorities said they put out information when the family reported the man missing, but had no leads until the photo appeared on USA Today.

His sister Hannah also used Twitter to post several tweets about the missing man:

@ndiblasio please contact me. you wrote an article for USA today that features a picture of my missing brother

— Hannah Simmons (@hanniesimmons) January 5, 2014

To everyone who's seen Nick's picture in USA Today: he's not home yet so please keep him in your thoughts and prayers.

— Hannah Simmons (@hanniesimmons) January 5, 2014

Jacquelyn Martin, is grateful that she was able to bring the NY missing man and his family together:

“It’s really gratifying to see that a photograph can make a tangible difference in someone’s life. That’s a really amazing thing to have happened,” Martin said. “I’m happy and touched that the photograph could help reunite this family.”

[Image via Facebook/WHEC TV]