Candlelight vigil held for missing man

North Bethlehem Township family, friends remain hopeful after two weeks of searching

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SCENERY HILL – Confident that her missing husband is still alive, Karen Pochiba reveled in the prayer and support that more than 50 well-wishers offered Thursday evening during a candlelight vigil in his honor.


Pochiba’s husband, George, 90, walked away from the 13 Crescent Road home on the evening of June 10 and failed to return. After more than two full weeks of searching, Karen and her daughter, Neva Pochiba-Neizmik, are hoping and praying that the Lord will lead him home.


“We are hopeful,” Pochiba-Neizmik said. “We believe someone has him and has not seen the news.”


“We believe in prayer,” Karen said. “I’m not giving up hope.”


And neither is the community. Rachel and Natalie Naser, sisters who grew up near the Pochibas, have been searching for him since he went missing. They helped organize the vigil.


“Personally, I’ve searched every back road in the area,” Natalie said. “We’re just hoping for some type of response.”


The sisters shared in the family’s struggle and hope that by drawing additional attention to the situation, they can reach a bigger audience.


“(This story) needs to be nationwide,” Natalie said.


Prior to disappearing, Pochiba told his wife he was going to feed the animals. The family does not own a farm or animals, but Pochiba, who has dementia, had them as a child.


“He was in good physical condition,” Karen said of her husband. “He just got confused and couldn’t remember a lot.”


The family began searching for Pochiba about 8 p.m. June 10, and firefighters, state police and numerous search dogs were brought in the following day to assist. The search was suspended later that evening because of incoming storms and police exhausting all leads on where he might have gone.


Although state police have not reinstated their search, Pochiba-Neizmik said they’ve remained helpful.


“They follow every lead diligently,” she said.


Especially over the last few days. The family started a Facebook page, “George Pochiba Search,” to help organize search times and locations and to manage possible sightings. On Tuesday, Pochiba-Neizmik said the family received the most plausible tip yet.


“There was a report of man pausing to catch his breath,” she said. “It matched his description. But troopers checked on it and spoke to him. It wasn’t him.”


Nonetheless, she’s thankful for the continued support of first responders and the community.


“I appreciate everyone still looking.”


The family is also offering a $3,000 reward for his safe return.


The vigil included song, prayer and encouraging words from three area pastors. Pastor George Ramsey Jr., of the Memory Chapel, hopes some good will come from the gathering.


“We are hoping, that as we pray, the holy spirit will move and show where he can be found,” Ramsey said.


Pochiba is 5 feet, 9 inches tall, weighs about 130 pounds with balding white hair, and was last seen wearing blue Dickie pants and a blue and gray flannel shirt. Anyone with information is asked to call 911.


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