Missing elderly man last seen heading to Naperville
For almost a week police and family — as well as concerned strangers in the area — have been looking for a missing 84-year-old Arlington Heights man who was last seen Friday in Yorkville asking for directions to Ogden Avenue and Route 59 in Naperville.
“There’s not a lot of leads out there” admitted Sgt. Nathan Hays with the Arlington Heights police, who have been searching for Eugene Jonnson since the evening of Aug. 22 when he was last seen by family.
“It’s very frustrating,” Hays added.
What makes it even more perplexing is there’s a vanity plane, JONS507, on the car Jonnson was driving, which should make the gray 2004 Buick LeSabre four-door easier to spot.
According to police, Jonnson is a white male, about 5-foot 10 inches tall, and weighing around 190 pounds. He is balding with gray hair, has blue eyes and normally wears glasses.
Authorities do not believe foul play is involved but are concerned Jonnson may need help because he’s become confused when driving in the past. There has been no activity on his credit card since he was last seen, said Hays. There’s even more concern because the weather has been so dangerously hot.
“It is scary,” said Hays. “And it hits close to home because it could be your father or grandfather.”
As information about Jonnson has gotten out through Facebook and other Internet sites, local residents have been looking for the car because he appeared to be trying to get to the Naperville area. Laurie Bartlett, who lives on Aurora’s far East Side, said family and neighbors have been combing parking lots hoping to spot Jonnson or the vehicle. New Hope Church in Plano was passing out flyers Wednesdayevening at a church meeting. And truckers are sharing information to over-the-road peers.
“We want to do everything we can,” said Bartlett.
If anyone has seen the car or someone fitting Jonnson’s description, call the Criminal Investigation Bureau of Arlington Heights at 847-368-5348, or 847-368-5300 after hours or on weekends.
Overdose awareness at Last Fling
While the community celebrates the end of summer at the Last Fling festival in Naperville this weekend, another more somber event will also be recognized.
Saturday in International Overdose Awareness Day, a world-wide event that hits home in a deadly way.
Our communities, especially in DuPage and Will counties, have seen an alarming rise in deaths related to drugs, particularly heroin.
That’s why the Main Stage at Last Fling on Saturday will feature a special presentation from leaders in the community who have been working hard these past few years to combat what local law enforcement officials have described over and over as an epidemic.
The presentation, which will last about five minutes and will take place between 5:30 and 6 p.m. Saturday, will include a talk by the sibling of a young man who died because of heroin, according to Karen Hanneman, who has become one of the area’s leading advocates for drug prevention awareness after losing her son to heroin a couple years ago.
The purpose of the presentation at Last Fling is “to provide as much critical information as possible” to this crowd, she said, and to do it in a “tasteful and respectful” way to get a somber message across in a celebratory setting.
“It is a brief opportunity at a very public venue as a city to recognize Drug Overdose Awareness Day,” she said.
Mayor George Pradel will also lead a moment of silence in memory of those who have lost their lives because of drugs.
Hanneman said lapel pins recognizing Drug Overdose Awareness Day will be available at the Main Stage, in addition to the Skater Picnic at 11 a.m. that morning.
In 2012, there were 155 drug overdoses in DuPage and Will counties, with 96 of those fatalities, or 62 percent, from heroin. Compare that to 57 heroin deaths in those two counties in 2010, and you can see why there is such concern.
Chicago has one of the worst heroin problems in the country. According to a study by researchers at Roosevelt University’s Illinois Consortium on Drug Policy, more people in Chicago and its suburbs visit hospital emergency rooms for heroin overdoses than any other major metropolitan area in the United States.
Experts say Naperville is more susceptible because it is a large affluent area where kids have access to more money and free time.
Heroin is cheap, accessible and deadly, added Hanneman. And the more opportunities we have to get that message out there, the better.
“This is not about trying to drag down people at a happy occasion,” she said of this Last Fling presentation. “It is about saving lives.”