Franklin County man still missing

February 24, 1997


Staff Writer

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - A mentally disabled 63-year-old Franklin County man upset about his failing eyesight remains missing nearly three weeks after walking away from his foster home, according to police and the woman who had been taking care of him.

Walter Brown, who is blind in his left eye and has failing vision in his right, was depressed over the prospect of losing his sight, said Barbara Goshorn, of 167116 Timmons Road in Spring Run, Pa.

Brown had been living with Goshorn and her husband, Larry, since November of 1995. Until Feb. 3, he had been working days at a sheltered workshop for mentally handicapped people run by Occupational Services Inc. on Crottlestown Road.


Brown was last seen by the Goshorns around 10 a.m. on Feb. 5. He was outside their home smoking a cigarette when he walked away, Barbara Goshorn said. State police were called that day, and started an active search until two days later, she said.

Sgt. John Theirwechter, commander of the Chambersburg State Police barracks, said Monday that police made a thorough search of the area, including the use of a helicopter. Police said they don't suspect foul play in Brown's disappearance.

Goshorn said she and her daughters also searched the area around their home, including some vacant fields. "I also thought that maybe he picked up a ride with some truck driver," Goshorn said. "He was always boasting about how he'd like to go to California or Florida, but he never went anywhere on his own. I stayed at home for the first two days after he left hoping I'd get a phone call about him," she said.

Posters were printed up the day after Brown disappeared and distributed around the community, Goshorn said.

Brown was the only client living with the Goshorns.

He was one of 37 clients in residential programs run by the Mutual Living Styles Inc., a for-profit agency that arranges care for people like Brown. The agency runs four group homes, 17 independent living apartments and 12 foster homes such as that of the Goshorns, according to executive director LaCinda Scheitle.

She said Brown is the first client to walk away from an agency facility and not return.

She also said Brown had a history of walking away from facilities where he lived and worked. She described him as having a friendly demeanor. He's 5 feet 4 inches tall, weighs about 160 pounds, shuffles when he walks and almost always has a cigarette in his mouth.

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