Missing Pa. man, 72, found in South Kearny shelter

KEARNY — A 72-year-old man, missing from his Pennsylvania home for nearly two weeks, was found safe last week by Kearny police at the Hudson County warming center in South Kearny.

According to authorities, Luis Hernandez of New Hanover Township, Pa., had last been seen Jan. 13 in Lower Pottsgrove, Pa., and was declared missing the following day.

On the night of Tuesday, Jan. 26, the KPD received a call from the Pottsgrove police that they had information that Hernandez had been checking into the Kearny facility on a nightly basis. Armed with a description of the missing man, KPD Officers Darwin Paulino and Daniel Esteves went to the center on Hackensack Ave. at 11 p.m. and found him there.

Hernandez, who reportedly is in the early stages of dementia or Alzheimer’s, was taken by Kearny EMS to St. Michael’s Hospital in Newark for evaluation. The KPD contacted the Potts grove police, who notified Hernandez’ family that he was safe. His relatives “were in the process of reuniting with him,” the Reading (Pa.) Eagle newspaper reported.

Hernandez apparently had some connection to Union City, which could be why he made his way to Hudson County, although how and when he arrived are not known.

A story in the Eagle noted: “Lower Pottsgrove Police Chief Michael Foltz credited officers in his department, as well as officers in the Union City and Kearny police forces for their cooperation – and persistence – in searching shelters for Hernandez.”

Foltz was quoted as stating that his department “is relieved that Mr. Hernandez was found safe and that this ended in a positive manner, especially considering the considerable cold and inclement weather conditions he could have been subjected to over the past couple weeks since he went missing.”

Hudson County opened the South Kearny warming center last winter. When temperatures plunge and homeless shelters are filled to capacity, the warming center offers a place of comfort where people can sleep, get a meal, shower, relax and even avail themselves of donated clothing.

On frigid nights, center representatives seek out the homeless at various transportation hubs, such as Journal Square in Jersey City and the railroad station in Hoboken, and take them to the Kearny site via shuttle bus. It is not known where Hernandez had been boarding the bus.

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