Missing man’s family says they’ll get him help

Jan 9, 2014, 6:19 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) – The parents of a missing young man who returned home after he was featured in an Associated Press photograph on a frigid Washington street say they’re still not sure why he left in the first place but that they’re determined to get him the help he needs.

Since arriving home, Nicholas Simmons, 20, hasn’t talked much about his ordeal, but his parents said he’s behaving normally otherwise.

“I got the bear hug of my life. We held on and didn’t let go,” Michelle Simons, Nicholas’ mother, said in an AP interview Wednesday night. “I do think he needed to actually get into the home and maybe start understanding what had happened to him.”

Nicholas Simmons stormed out of his parents’ home in Greece, N.Y., a suburb of Rochester, on New Year’s Day, leaving his wallet and cellphone behind as he drove away. His parents reported him missing that evening.

On the morning of Jan. 4, AP photographer Jacquelyn Martin, looking for a way to illustrate unusually cold temperatures in the region, snapped a picture of Nicholas as he pressed his face against a steam grate in downtown Washington, a few blocks from the Capitol. The grate is a gathering spot for homeless people looking to keep warm.

USA Today published the photograph, and the next morning, it was brought to the attention of Michelle Simmons and her husband, Paul. They recognized their son instantly.

“I wanted to fall to my knees,” Michelle Simmons said. “As a mom, you know your child’s face, and then I just couldn’t stop looking at it. It was so heart-wrenching. I just kept staring at it.”

Paul and Nicholas’ older brother, Paul Jr., immediately drove to Washington, where they were reunited with Nicholas by day’s end. He had been picked up by D.C. police and was in a hospital. The Simmonses stayed in a hotel and returned home the next day.

Paul and Michelle said they haven’t spoken much to Nicholas about why he left. In the AP interview, they didn’t discuss the specifics of his mental health, but they said they will seek counseling or other mental health services for him as needed. His departure followed a discussion with his parents about his future, they said.

“We knew he was kind of struggling with, `What am I going to do?'” Michelle said of her son, who lives with his parents and attends Monroe Community College. “He was getting very frustrated. You know what, it’s the most common conversation you would have with any 18-, 19-, 20-year-old.”

In the interview and in a statement emailed to AP, they thanked Martin, police, their close friends in the Washington area and others who helped in the search for their son. But Paul and Michelle said they don’t know why their son drove to Washington.

___

Follow Ben Nuckols on Twitter at
https://twitter.com/APBenNuckols

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

United States News

Associated Press

Migrant-death suspect ran detention center accused of abuse

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — One of two Texas brothers who authorities say opened fire on a group of migrants getting water near the U.S.-Mexico border, killing one and injuring another, was warden at a detention facility with a history of abuse allegations. The shooting happened Tuesday in rural Hudspeth County about 90 miles (145 kilometers) […]
15 hours ago
FILE - People visit a makeshift memorial honoring the victims of the Oct. 1, 2017, mass shooting in...
Associated Press

Vegas survivors signal hope even as mass shootings persist

LAS VEGAS (AP) — It’s been five years since carnage and death sent his family running into the night, leaving them separated and terrified as a gunman rained bullets into an outdoor country music festival crowd on the Las Vegas Strip. The memories don’t fade, they sharpen, William “Bill” Henning said as he prepared for […]
15 hours ago
Associated Press

Man shot several times at California youth football game

ONTARIO, Calif. (AP) — A man was shot several times on the field at a youth football game Saturday morning in Southern California, police said. Ontario police said the man was targeted and shot multiple times by suspects who fled. No one else was injured at the game at Colony High School, and there was […]
15 hours ago
In this image from video broadcast by RTB state television, coup spokesman Capt. Kiswendsida Farouk...
Associated Press

Protesters attack French Embassy in Burkina Faso after coup

OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso (AP) — Angry protesters attacked the French Embassy in Burkina Faso’s capital Saturday after supporters of the West African nation’s new coup leader accused France of harboring the ousted interim president, a charge French authorities vehemently denied. A group of soldiers appearing on state television late Friday had announced that Lt. Col. […]
15 hours ago
From left, A.J. McCullough of Sunset Beach, NC, mother of bride Monroe McCullough, an unidentified ...
Associated Press

Despite Ian’s punch, wedding day saved on wet Pawleys Island

PAWLEYS ISLAND, S.C. (AP) — Saturday turned out to be a sparklingly beautiful fall day in Pawleys Island, an idyllic wedding venue sandwiched between the Atlantic oceanfront and expansive marshland that typify South Carolina’s coastal beauty. For two visiting families, the perfect wedding almost got derailed by Hurricane Ian’s landfall and aftermath. Mary Lord and […]
15 hours ago
FILE - Democratic candidate for Georgia governor Stacey Abrams poses for a portrait in front of the...
Associated Press

GOP attacks Georgia’s Abrams on voting as judge rejects suit

ATLANTA (AP) — When Democrat Stacey Abrams narrowly lost the Georgia governor’s race to Republican Brian Kemp four years ago, she didn’t go quietly. She ended her campaign with a nonconcession that acknowledged she wouldn’t be governor, while spotlighting her claims that Kemp had used his post as secretary of state to improperly purge likely […]
15 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Children’s Cancer Network

Children’s Cancer Network celebrates cancer-fighting superheroes, raises funds during September’s Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

Jace Hyduchak was like most other kids in his kindergarten class: He loved to play basketball, dress up like his favorite superheroes and jump as high as his pint-sized body would take him on his backyard trampoline.
...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Here are 4 signs the HVAC unit needs to be replaced

Pool renovations and kitchen upgrades may seem enticing, but at the forefront of these investments arguably should be what residents use the most. In a state where summertime is sweltering, access to a functioning HVAC unit can be critical.
...
Sanderson Ford

Don’t let rising fuel prices stop you from traveling Arizona this summer

There's no better time to get out on the open road and see what the beautiful state of Arizona has to offer. But if the cost of gas is putting a cloud over your summer vacation plans, let Sanderson Ford help with their wide-range selection of electric vehicles.
Missing man’s family says they’ll get him help