Commonwealth Journal

April 23, 2013

Western Pulaski family concerned about missing man

By CHRIS HARRIS, CJ Staff Writer
Commonwealth Journal

Somerset —

Local authorities are still searching for a Nancy man who went missing late last week after running away while suffering apparent hallucinations.
John Beach, 34, was reported missing late Friday night by members of his family, approximately 24 hours after he disappeared while out in the Elihu-Cabin Hollow Road area of southern Pulaski County.
His sister, Margaret Polly, is hoping for a safe return — but fearing the worst.
“Very,” she said when asked how worried she was for her brother’s well-being. “I feel like he ain’t living. I just don’t see him surviving.”
Beach and his brother, Robert Beach, were driving in the Elihu area late Thursday night around midnight, according to Sheriff Todd Wood, when their vehicle stalled, apparently out of fuel. The two men got out and started walking to find help.
Polly said that John Beach kept taking off running, with his brother forced to run behind to catch up. He did this “about four or five times,” she said. “He was scared somebody was in the bushes.”
Wood added that John Beach was “hallucinating, hearing what he believed to be voices in the woods.”
The residents of the first house where the men arrived and asked to use the phone turned them away. Polly said that both men were heavily tattooed and may have made the residents of the home uncomfortable.
After that, John Beach took off running again, shedding his shirt in the process. Rather than follow behind this time, Robert Beach went to the next house, where he gained entry, said Wood. Robert Beach ended up falling asleep at that location; when he woke up the next day, John had not returned.
“He figured John would come back,” said Polly. “He’d been running and got tired (so) he laid down at that man’s house and fell asleep.”
That was the last anyone in John Beach’s family saw of him. They waited until later that night before contacting the authorities, as John had not returned home to the Nancy residence that he shared with his father, who, according to Polly, is an intensive care patient.
Polly noted that Beach had been in prison for about a decade — “It was the only life he really knew” — and had only been out for 18 days when he went missing.
Beach was out on parole. He had been serving time for numerous charges. In 2003, Beach was charged with criminal attempt to commit murder, a Class B felony, after shooting at a sheriff’s deputy during a foot pursuit, among other charges including receiving stolen property.
“Mr. Beach does have a history with law enforcement in this area,” said Wood, who noted that such a history has no relevance to this search and that his department is committed to locating Beach as it would be with any other missing person’s case. 
Since getting out of jail, Beach’s mind had been “not right” according to Polly.
“The way he acted when he got out of jail” was concerning to his sister. “He never went to the doctor. He had paranoia.”
Wood said that “conversations with the brother” indicated that both men had been taking the drug methamphetamine. No drug-related charges have been filed as of this time.
Wood said that investigators checked all the roads and wooded areas in the proximity of where Beach went missing, but turned up nothing. They have also done two helicopter flyovers of the area to see if they could spot any evidence of Beach’s presence from the air, but that method has been unsuccessful as well.
Sgt. Scott Trotter of the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department is in charge of the case, and intends to take cadaver dogs out to see if they can pick up Beach’s trail. That will depend on the weather however, and with rain expected, Wood noted that that search could be delayed be a day or two.
“As soon as we have availability, (the canines) can help us scan the general area,” said Wood. “At this time, we are still waiting and searching and trying to see if we have any evidence or clues that can help us locate Mr. Beach.”
Wood said there are no circumstances to suggest that Beach is in any imminent danger, no threats made against him or evidence of foul play.
“We’ll continue to work and follow up leads,” he said. “If anyone in the Elihu-Cabin Hollow area saw anybody that fits the description of (John Beach) or seemed unusual or out of place, please give the sheriff’s department a call (at 606-678-5145).”
Polly noted that her brother John Beach is about 5-foot-6, 140 pounds, thin build, with strawberry blonde hair shaped in a sort of “faux hawk” style. He had on only a pair of blue jeans and shoes when he went missing, given that he had left his shirt behind.
“I figure he went out into those woods and something happened to him — there are acres out in those woods,” she said. “I’m so worried.”