News & Politics

New York Family Reunites With Missing Son After Seeing Him Photographed in DC

Nicholas Simmons went missing on Wednesday and was spotted yesterday in a photo that depicted him living homeless on Capitol Hill.

An Upstate New York man who went missing on New Year’s Day was found yesterday slumped under a blanket on Capitol Hill after his family spotted him in an Associated Press photo that ran on USA Today’s website.

Nicholas Simmons, 20, had last been seen Wednesday about 5 PM leaving his family’s home in Greece, New York, outside Rochester. His parents created a Facebook page to track him down, but there were no sightings of him until yesterday, when USA Today ran a slideshow of various spots around the country bracing for a blast of arctic weather. The presentation included a shot by AP photographer Jacquelyn Martin with the following caption:

“Nick warms himself on a steam grate with three other homeless men by the Federal Trade Commission, just blocks from the Capitol, during frigid temperatures in Washington, Saturday, Jan. 4, 2014.”

Upon seeing the photo, Simmons’s mother, Michelle contacted USA Today’s reporter, who in turn reached out to Martin. The Simmones also called the Metropolitan Police Department, who dispatched an ambulance to take their son to George Washington University Hospital. Simmons’s father and brother traveled to Washington last night, according to the Washington Post.

“Nick is alive but obviously not well…we are going to get him home and safe and this is by far the greatest example of God’s love and divine intervention I have ever experienced,” Michelle Simmons wrote on her now-deleted Facebook page. “Iam relieved but still distraught by everything but HE IS ALIVE and his family will get him home, loved and cared for..and healthy again. I am beyond able to put into words how I am feeling.”

Still unknown is how or why Simmons made it from Rochester to Washington.

Staff Writer

Benjamin Freed joined Washingtonian in August 2013 and covers politics, business, and media. He was previously the editor of DCist and has also written for Washington City Paper, the New York Times, the New Republic, Slate, and BuzzFeed. He lives in Adams Morgan.