New hope in search for Niles man

Months passed, but still no word.

Then twice within the past several weeks, Sharon Six received Facebook messages from two people claiming to have spotted a man in Warren near the Hot Dog Shoppe at West Market Street and Tod Avenue who could be her missing son, Timothy Six Jr.

It was all his mother needed to revive the hope she’s been holding on to since her son went missing earlier this year.

“It’s hard. We just don’t know what to think. We don’t know if these are true sightings or if it was someone else, or what,” Sharon Six said.

Still, the leads are reason enough to launch another search for the 36-year-old man who had been living in Niles and who walked away from Trumbull Memorial Hospital on Feb. 18.

This time around, the family is enlisting the help of Rick Smith of the Beloit-based search team Great Lakes Emergency Response. Smith said Great Lakes will be canvassing the Warren and Niles areas within the next few weeks, passing out posters and reminding residents to continue being on the lookout.

“We’ve basically gotten word that the local police are at a standstill. But we’re going with the information we’ve gotten, that his mom has received and hoping to get the word out,” Smith said.

”We’re hoping that if he’s out there, our plea is that he will reach out to us. Our goal is for their to be reconciliation with his family.

”We’re conducting this as a search, basing it on the belief and premise that he is still alive,” he said.

Smith said the nonprofit search group with about 20 members is small but effective. Plans are to deploy a police dog and bloodhounds. He said Great Lakes, which has led several successful search and recovery efforts, is also looking to call in other teams and is hoping to receive volunteer support from local residents.

Smith also asked a private investigator to help, but so far, no one has turned up anything concrete.

He’s also hoping area businesses, community groups and residents will step forward to defray some expenses, such as fuel costs.

Timothy Six Jr. had no money or identification when he checked himself out of the hospital on Feb. 18, and, although it was a blustery cold day, that afternoon he was wearing only a T-shirt and shorts.

Sharon Six said her son took off once before, when he was 16, for a short period of time.

In the days following his recent disappearance, the family filed a missing persons report with the Warren Police Department and followed up with calls to other local agencies. Police said no progress has been made in the case.

Timothy, the oldest of three siblings, had been staying in the Niles area with an aunt at the time of his disappearance.

He had gone to Trumbull Memorial Hospital to visit his doctor regarding his emotional state. Sharon Six said that her son left the hospital without the medication he had been taking for years to help with paranoid schizophrenia.

Sharon and her husband, Tim Sr., spent the first few weeks after their son’s disappearance traveling between their home in Largo, Fla., and Trumbull County, spending days and sleepless nights putting up missing person posters and checking local hospitals, missions and churches.

Sharon and Tim Six Sr. spent two days traveling from Florida to Ohio after receiving word that their son was missing. They spent 11 days in the area searching for him. They went home but Sharon explained that she “couldn’t handle it” and she came back.

She’s now started working again, which makes it harder to return to Trumbull. Recently, she was in Pennsylvania for her job and had an opportunity to spend some time in the Warren area passing out new fliers and talking to people about her son.

“We’re just trying to get it out there as much as possible and to remind people. We’re going crazy. This is our son. We never really realized how many people are missing until this happened,” Sharon Six said.

“I hear people, my friends, complaining about their kids calling them all the time. Tim used to call us all the time. I used to complain. I tell them, don’t complain, because now we don’t even get any phone calls anymore and if he would just call, I would never complain about that again.

”We don’t know what to believe anymore. We just hope that he’s still out there somewhere, and that he reaches out to us.”