More than two frigid weeks after a 20-year-old autistic man vanished from his Marine Park home, his mother said she is certain he is still alive — and she needs the public’s help finding him.
Authorities say Brian Gewirtz was last seen at his residence on Coleman Street near Quentin Road on Feb. 17 at 9:30 am. His mother said her son left home without his wallet or phone, and without leaving a note, but she remains optimistic despite others’ waning hope and is asking Brooklynites to stay on the lookout for him.
“People don’t know what to say, so they’re offering their condolences but I know my son’s not dead,” said Kathleen Gewirtz. “He is out there somewhere, so I need people to search.”
In addition to autism, Brian Gewirtz has Type 2 diabetes and requires medication, so his mother said anyone who spots her son should call 911. She said her son may have wandered off because he is craving independence but she just wants to know he is safe and healthy.
“He wants to be independent, he can be independent — but we still want to be part of his life,” she said. “We’re not trying to control his life. We just want to be part of his life to help guide him.”
Brian Gewirtz’s brother said it isn’t safe for the 20-year-old to be alone for so long — especially during this frigid winter, which has broken records for cold temperatures.
“He isn’t prepared to be just out and about away from home without us for this long of a time,” said Christopher Gewirtz, who lives in Indiana but is currently back home in Marine Park to look for his brother.
He likened the search for his brother to the case of Avonte Oquendo, an autistic 14-year-old from Queens whose disappearance in October 2013 sparked a citywide grassroots effort to find the boy — though he hopes acting quickly we lead to a better outcome. Oquendo’s remains were found three months after he vanished.
Kathleen Gewirtz said she wants her son to know that the whole family — including his dog, Lucy — misses him.
“We’re thinking of him,” she said, and added a personal message for her son. “Your mom and dad love you and miss you.”
Police ask anyone with information regarding Gewirtz’s whereabouts to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577–8477, submit tips at www.nypdcrimestoppers.com, or text-message tips to 2474637, then enter “TIP577”.