Photo In USA Today Helps Find Missing Man

20-year-old Nick Simmons went missing on New Year's Day. An unlikely chance photograph in USA Today days later helped his family locate him.

Photo In USA Today Helps Find Missing Man

A chance photograph published in Sunday's USA Today reunites family members with a missing son.

"20-year-old Nick Simmons, pictured here warming himself on a stream grate in Washington D.C., had been missing from his Greece home since New Year’s Day.  But serendipity intervened when his relatives spotted the photograph." (Via USA Today)

Associated Press photographer Jacquelyn Martin took the picture of Simmons, without knowing his identity or his missing status.  WROC says the family learned of the photo a few days after reporting the man missing.

"Just four days later, while reading the 'USA Today' a family member noticed this photo of a man named 'Nick' homeless ... He was featured in the paper as part of a story about the cold snap sweeping the nation." (Via WROC)

After contacting authorities, the following search would connect Simmons’ family, the AP photographer, USA Today reporter Natalie DiBlasio and Washington D.C. police who found the man Sunday night.  

How rare is the coincidence between Martin’s photo and the Simmons family seeing the picture?  USA Today explains the extraordinary connection.

The paper says the Associated Press released a total of 126 images on its wire service depicting the cold weather.  Only three of those photos contain Nick Simmons in the frame.  And only one picture, the photo published by USA Today, actually shows Simmons’ face.

WHEC says the Simmons family and the AP photographer would like to meet each other in the near future.  The news oulet spoke with Martin who says the photo's importance is a gratifying experience as a photographer.

"It's extremely rewarding to know a photograph that I've made, made a difference ... It just reinforces how important it is what we do as journalist. It's real easy to get jaded and to take a picture and move away." (Via WHEC)

After being found, police brought Simmons to a Washington D.C. hospital and is reportedly in good condition.