192 Days As John Doe

May 17, 2016
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On a Saturday morning in late February in the town of Tonawanda, New York, men and women bundled in heavy winter coats and parkas walked past waist-high piles of snow into a red-brick structure with stained-glass windows. Tall banners reading “Welcome” and “Rekindle” framed the doorway.

Family, friends and business associates sat in the pews of St Christopher Church listening to ‘Days of Elijah’, which refers to Ezekiel’s vision of a valley of dry bones resurrected to flesh. The deceased was a gemmologist, by reports mild-mannered and helpful. He owned and ran a jewellery store in nearby Kenmore that had been in his family for three generations. The church had been the family’s spiritual home for a quarter century.

Earlier that month, the 53-year-old had walked out of his home and disappeared. Monsignor Fran Weldgen, a friend and one-time St Christopher pastor, addressed the assembled mourners. “Words are difficult,” he said. “Our emotions are deep, raw. We’re confused, hurt.”

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Image: © Parkin Parkin

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