MANCHESTER – After a 9-hour search, an endangered 78-year-old man was located and brought to safety by an off-duty Manchester Police Officer.
On the evening of November 27, Manchester Police Department received information from Heidi Sarno about her missing 78-year-old father, Fred Rapp. Sarno had last seen her father in Lacey Township at around 4:30 p.m. that day.
After Sarno supplied information like the vehicle her father had been driving, cell phone number/carrier and information regarding his current medical/cognitive condition, the Manchester Police Department took a missing person’s report and administered an investigation.
Throughout the investigation, police used on-going cell phone GPS information to track Rapp’s location as it kept changing. The identified areas were wooded territories along State Highway 37, spanning the Toms River and Berkeley Township. These areas specifically were the ASARCO and Crossley Preserve land sites.
The Manchester Police searched the area with the department’s Humvee drone, but turned unsuccessfully in locating Rapp or his vehicle.
Throughout the night and into the early morning, Sgt. Theodore Cooke and police called Rapp’s phone multiple times but with no answer. Around 5:45 a.m., Rapp answered a call made to him by Sgt. Cooke. Rapp explained to Sgt. Cooke that he had crashed his vehicle in a wooded area, and did not know his location.
Minutes later, Rapp informed Sgt. Cooke that someone was with him, off-duty Manchester Sgt. Charles Brooks. Sgt. Brooks, who was hunting in the area at the time, informed police of their location as it was inaccessible to motor vehicles.
Rapp was then brought to an open area by Sgt. Brooks where Rapp was transported by police vehicle to Bone Hill Road where he was treated by Manchester First Aid.Rapp was later transported to Community Medical Center for evaluation.
After rescuing Rapp, it was discovered that Sgt. Brooks was hunting in the area when he found a dog, later determined to be Rapp’s dog, Petie alone on a nearby trail. Assuming the dog lost it’s owner, Sgt. Brooks followed the dog’s paw prints to hopefully reunite it with its owner. Upon following the dog prints, he also found footprints which eventually led him to Rapp.
“This situation highlights the fact that a police officer is a police officer 24/7. We are truly fortunate that Sgt. Brooks was in the right place at the right time because without his help there is no telling how this story would have ended”, said Manchester Police Chief Lisa Parker.