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Portville police baffled by wanderer

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Posted: Thursday, September 2, 2010 11:14 am

PORTVILLE — The act of a good Samaritan leaves the Village of Portville Police with more questions than answers.

A gentleman by the name of Mike stopped Portville Village Police Chief Ron Brisbee late Wednesday afternoon and began to tell him an unusual tale of the unknown man who was sitting in his vehicle.

According to Chief Brisbeem an unknown male approximately 5-feet-9 inches, 45 to 50 years old and 175 pounds was found wandering the streets near Emporium, Pa. He had salt-and-pepper hair, though slightly balding; a grey beard and mustache and blue eyes. He was wearing a blue, long-sleeved, button-down shirt; blue jeans; grey socks; brown shoes and a camouflage baseball cap

“From what Mike was telling me, the guy would periodically stop at people’s homes, request simple items such as water or toilet paper, say thank you, then leave,” Chief Brisbee said. “(Mike) told me he was a nice guy. He didn’t harass anyone and he had been sleeping in the woods for about three days.”

The chief continued telling the Times Herald that Mike had then found the man in Eldred — walking toward New York — and offered to give him a ride. Upon entering Portville, Mike stopped Chief Brisbee and asked for his assistance.

“When we asked the guy his name and address he said he couldn’t remember,” Chief Brisbee said. “The only thing the guy did say is that he had a headache.”

According to the chief, there was no indication of head trauma or any other type of accident.

“We confirmed our initial observation (of no trauma) with Olean General to make sure we didn’t miss anything,” the chief said. “Other than being a bit dehydrated, the guy was in good health and stayed overnight at the hospital.”

Because the man was found near the Emporium area, Portville Police began their search for the man’s identity in Pennsylvania.

“We searched missing persons reports from Pennsylvania and found a possible match out of Bloomsburg (southeast of Bradford, heading towards Philadelphia),” Chief Brisbee said. “There is a man by the name of John Charles Richart who has been missing since July 30 that matches quite closely in description to the guy here.”

However, when the chief tried to confirm his suspicions with Bloomsburg Police, the man in the chiefs custody could not be positively identified by the reported missing person’s mother.

“Right now, we have no idea who this guys is,” the chief said. “The mom of the missing person in Pennsylvania, who appears to be a good match, can not positively identify this guy as her son. We are not sure at this time if he has any siblings or other relatives that could help identify him, nor do we know if he was employed, has a wife, kids. It seems this guys is just off the radar.”

Anyone with any information is asked to call Portville Police at 933-8773 or the Pennsylvania State Police at Coudersport at (814) 274-8690.

(Contact reporter Julia Sampson at jsampson@oleantimesherald.com)

  • Discuss

Welcome to the discussion.


  • Erin WARGULA posted at 11:49 pm on Thu, Sep 2, 2010.

    Tatertot Posts: 0

    I can see why they thought he might be Richart; he's wearing clothing of the same description Richart was last seen wearing on July 30th. This is a long shot, but police should consider asking if anybody at the Warming House soup kitchen recognizes him. He may have been walking back to an area he was familiar with and he could have patronized a place like the Warming House before to get a hot meal.

  • stephanie RAJAVICH posted at 6:10 pm on Thu, Sep 2, 2010.

    sajaco Posts: 0

    he was seen walking monday round 4:30 p.m. in the betula area then on wed was picked up by the valley inn

  • Shirley Shreve posted at 12:21 pm on Thu, Sep 2, 2010.

    Betty-Boop Posts: 0

    I think the times herald should contact channel 4 to see if they can find out who this guy is or if anyone knows him.