Just a couple of hours after Shin Noh left his home for the last time back on a late summer’s day last September, the Coquitlam father with Alzheimer’s disease was spotted by construction workers near Burke Mountain.
Unfortunately, they didn’t know the senior was missing, so didn’t intervene.
Noh’s family has been left wondering all these months what could have been if the workers had just known he was missing.
That’s why Noh’s son Sam and his family are putting their support behind a private member’s bill by Coquitlam-Maillardville MLA Selina Robinson calling on the government to implement a Silver Alert program in B.C. Like the Amber Alert used for missing children, the bill would create a program that would alert the public of a missing person who is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or any other form of cognitive impairment.
“If this thing was in place my dad would have been found already,” Sam told the Tri-Cities NOW, adding he doesn’t see any reason why the bill couldn’t become law.
He said the creation of a Silver Alert system now won’t change his family’s situation, but he wants to save other families the anguish and pain of losing a loved one in this way.
Robinson said the bill stems from the Nohs’ story, noting she was one of many in the community who stepped up to help search for Shin after he disappeared. The MLA said she was inspired by how many people came out to help in the search.
“What it told me was the community does want to help and they do have a role to play,” she said.
Robinson explained, unlike an Amber Alert, which tends to be broadcast in a large geographical area, the Silver Alert would be more localized, with alerts going out through local media and social media. The program would also be administered by local police agencies.
Robinson suggested people with dementia and Alzheimer’s tend to go missing on foot and aren’t necessarily trying to hide, unlike with an abduction that typically draws an Amber Alert. “It already saves lives,” she said, pointing out a Silver Alert system is in place in several U.S. states.
The MLA also noted the bill is supported by the local RCMP and Coquitlam Search and Rescue.
While the protocols still have to be developed, Robinson said she expects to meet with the health minister to discuss the bill, and hopes the government can put aside partisanship to make the program a reality.
Shin was last seen by his wife on the morning of Sept. 18, 2013, before he left his house near Lansdowne Drive and Guildford Way for his morning walk.
In the days and weeks that followed, the community rallied and formed large searches, scouring the Tri-Cities and other parts of the Lower Mainland after possible sightings.
But more than five months later, Shin is still missing.
More recently, the family has offered a $10,000 reward in hopes it might lead to more clues to the missing man’s whereabouts.
Sam acknowledged that, statistically speaking, his father probably isn’t alive, but if so, he wonders why he hasn’t been found.
While family members still hope Noh is alive, if he isn’t, they want to give him a proper burial and have closure. Sam said the ordeal has been difficult on the entire family, especially his mom.
“It’s hard to grasp how this could happen to us,” he said.
For more information on the search for Shin Noh, go to shin-noh.ca.
© Tri-Cities Now
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