A Desperate Search For A Missing Man: Where Is Bu Quach?

Bu Quach signs are plastered all over telephone poles in the Ocean Acres section of town. (Photo by Jason Allentoff)

STAFFORD – Heavy rain. Strong winds. Dense fog. Warm days. Bitterly cold nights. Just some of the elements a 65-year-old man has had to contend with after abruptly leaving his  nursing home one week ago.

There’s been an amazing outpouring of love and support which continues through a GoFundMe page and a full-on search party set for this weekend.

Bu Quach, who suffers with dementia, diabetes, Parkinson’s Disease and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, has been missing since leaving through a basement door at the Manahawkin Nursing & Rehabilitation Center on Friday, November 2nd. He had been a resident of the facility since February of this year, according to his son Jonathan Quach. The elder Quach speaks very little English and left with no money and only the clothes on his back.

There was a sighting of Quach near Treasure Avenue and Lighthouse Drive on the evening he went missing around 5:30 p.m.

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He is described as an Asian male, 5’3”, approximately 120 pounds with shaved short hair although it had been grown out a bit, a goatee and was last seen wearing a red t-shirt, dark gray sweatpants and a yellow wristband.

Photo courtesy Tonny Mao

Authorities have been going door-to-door in search of Quach, even looking in wooded areas, sheds, gazebos, crawl spaces, under decks, and anywhere Quach may have been sheltered and hiding.

Detectives have asked all residents in Ocean Acres near the Lighthouse Drive area to check their surveillance footage and see if Quach is on it. So far all attempts to locate him have gone nowhere. An alleged sighting of Quach in Toms River Township outside of Tío Juan’s Margaritas turned out to be completely false.

Quach’s son Jonathan started a GoFundMe page. He told Jersey Shore Online that “we are not giving up on him. The money raised will be used for supplies needed to continue the search, for food and water for volunteers and also help with legal fees that we will be pursing.”

On the page, he wrote thank you so much in advance & from the bottom of our hearts for your donation, we greatly appreciate it.

On Saturday, November 10th, Quach’s son will organize a search party with the community starting at Ocean Acres Lake Park on Buccaneer Lane in Stafford. The arrival time is set for 9 a.m. with departure at 10:30 a.m. Then there will be a regrouping and refreshments at 1 p.m. in the same place.

Quach said in a social media post “I’m reaching out to all, who have knowledge of the surrounding area of his citing. I will have maps of the area and we will all split into groups to all location that he might be at still. If you or somebody you know have the skills in tracking it would help. At this point I’m willing to listen to any ideas to make this happen.
Please be aware that if your joining in this search, wear the proper gears as we will be hiking into location that have ticks, also the weather might change to rain and be chilly throughout the day. This whole situation is very new to me and my family. I’m willing to take any guidance to setting up for the search.

During the last week, there have also been comments posted on social media that the police department isn’t doing enough to locate him. In a few instances, tensions were running high. One person was critical that the search should be “around the clock.”

Stafford Police Lieutenant James Vaughn told Jersey Shore Online “everyone on social media is entitled to their opinions. Our investigation hasn’t ended at night. Our Detectives and Officers that work the Evening and Midnight shifts are still looking for Mr. Quach and following up any leads. The case has remained open throughout the nights, and weekends and we have never stopped investigating his disappearance. Additionally, our department is still operating in a 24/7 manner, meaning our business as a police department hasn’t stopped. We are still handling motor vehicle accidents, first aid calls, domestic violence calls, and all other types of calls for service, while continuing our search and investigative efforts for Mr. Quach.”

Photo courtesy Jonathan Quach

Vaughn added that they’ve been in constant contact with Quach’s sons.

“Our hearts goes out to him, and I couldn’t imagine ever being in his situation, which is why we have been working so hard to find his father,” said Vaughn.

In addition to door-to-door searches and surveillance video, K9 units and the state police also aided in the search along with the Ocean County Sheriff’s Department. Bad weather had kept a helicopter grounded but drones were used over several sections of neighborhoods and wooded areas.

Many residents have also been out helping to search for him since he was reported missing.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Steve Fessler at 609-597-8581 or sfessler@staffordpolice.org.