Retired prof. with dementia now missing for four days
Published: Tuesday, September 18, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, September 18, 2012 02:09
Members of the Newark Police Department said they are hopeful they will find retired university professor John Dohms.
Dohms, 64, who suffers from dementia, left his home on East Cleveland Avenue on Thursday. He did not return, causing the police to send out a Gold Alert, a form of a missing persons alert.
According to animal and food science professor Mark Parcells, Dohms was also a professor in the department of animal and food sciences, specializing in the microbiology of infectious diseases.
Parcells stated in an email message that he enjoyed the humor Dohms brought to his work and classes.
“His animal diseases class was very popular with undergraduate animal science majors,” Parcells said. “His breadth of life experience, sense of humor and vitality were always very inspirational to students, staff and faculty.”
Animal and food sciences professor Lesa Griffiths stated in an email message that Dohms’ sense of humor extends beyond the classroom.
“I am not sure who has more great stories to tell about each other, the students or John,” Griffiths said. “Most of the stories were about catching fish—fish that I never saw—typical fisherman!”
Dohms enjoys fishing and many other outside activities, according to Griffiths and Parcells, who described him as an “avid outdoorsman.”
Griffiths also stated that she hopes the skills he acquired as an outdoorsman assist him now.
The university police assisted the Newark police in following a lead that Dohms may have been in White Clay Creek State Park.
The university also posted signs around campus urging students to call the police if they see a man matching this physical description of Dohms which stated, “Dohms is described as a white male, 6 feet 1 inches tall, 165 pounds with gray hair and blue eyes. He is believed to be wearing tan shorts, however, the rest of his clothing is unknown. He is known to frequent stores in and around Main Street and the Pomeroy Trail.”
The Newark police said they hope that he will be found safe.
According to Lt. Mark Farrell of the Newark Police Department, they are still receiving calls and following leads as to Dohms’ location. They said they do not believe Dohms to be in Newark, but students should keep an eye out.
“In respect to students, please be on the lookout, if you see anyone matching the description please call the police,” Farrell said. “We don’t believe he is still in Newark but we have the signs posted just in case he wanders back.”
On Sunday, the Newark Police Department issued a press release asking residents of Newark and Hockessin, Del., and southern Chester County, Pa., to cover places where Dohms could potentially be seeking shelter.
“We asked everyone to check your yards, sheds and out buildings—people with dementia will often seek shelter there,” Farrell said.
Despite confirmation by K-9 units that Dohms has been to several of the reported locations, police still do not know where he is now but believe they will find him shortly.
“We blieve he is just outside the city, and we are still hopeful of finding him,” Farrell said.