- The Washington Times - Friday, January 23, 2009

Two mentally disabled men who went missing during the inauguration Tuesday have been reunited with their families, U.S. Park Police said Thursday.

Erskine Bates, 34, of Philadelphia was found just before midnight Wednesday inside Union Station without injury. Mr. Bates went missing on the Washington Monument grounds at about 1 p.m., his famil said.

Steven Johnson, 21, was found by Capitol Police on Thursday morning near the U.S. Capitol and turned over to Park Police. Mr. Johnson was not injured, but he was cold and hungry.

Mr. Johnson initially got lost near New Jersey Avenue and Third Street Northwest, according to the report filed by his parents, Calvin and Kathy Johnson. Mr. Johnson then wandered around the city. Mr. Johnson’s cell-phone battery had died, and he was unable to reach his family.

Park Police said it sent out critical missing-person bulletins within two hours of hearing about Mr. Bates and Mr. Johnson and began a grid search of the Mall and checked nearby homeless shelters.

“Lost persons is something we deal with for every event,” said Sgt. Robert Lachance, a Park Police spokesman. “We work with our allied agencies especially for critically missing people so we can quickly locate them. These two were a perfect example of how the system works.”

About 1.8 million people attended the inauguration, according to initial estimates.

Park Police received 32 missing persons reports Tuesday, most of which were for the elderly and children. So far, all but one have been found.

They were still looking for a 64-year-old woman from Michigan, although that search is not considered critical because she does not have any disabilities and has access to money and communication.

“We have no reason to believe she is in danger,” Sgt. Lachance said.


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