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Family Searching For Former SF Firefighter After Disappearance On Amtrak

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Charles Dowd

Charles Dowd, a San Mateo resident and former S.F. firefighter. (Family Photo)

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SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – Five days after Charles Dowd, a 69-year-old San Mateo man, went missing from an Amtrak train headed from the Bay Area to Chicago, family members continue to be hopeful that he will be found safe.

Dowd’s wife Patricia said Monday that their two children, Jennifer and Kevin, are in Omaha, Neb. to hand out fliers and organize a search party near where their father was last seen by an Amtrak train conductor on Thursday.

“They’re trying to rally a really big search party in Omaha today,” Dowd said.

The conductor who last saw her husband said he appeared disoriented and confused about his whereabouts, thinking that he was in an apartment rather than on a train and that he needed to find the front door, Dowd said.

The former San Francisco firefighter takes medication that can sometimes leave him temporarily disoriented, she said.

Her husband possibly got off the train at the station in Omaha to smoke a cigarette, but it wasn’t clear if he ever got back on, she said.

When the train arrived in Chicago on Friday, the man’s cellphone, luggage and medication were still on the train but he was nowhere to be found.

The family has been working with Amtrak officials and contacting hospitals and police departments along the train route to assist in the search.

The couple’s two children will likely head to Lincoln, Neb.—the next train stop on the way to Chicago—to search the area on Tuesday.

Dowd said her family is understandably worried and frustrated at the lack of results that the search for her husband has generated so far.

“I don’t know what kind of state I’m in,” she said. “This happens to other people, not me.”

The missing man is described as a white man with blue eyes and gray hair who is 5 feet 10 inches tall and 175 pounds.

Anyone with information on his whereabouts should call 911 and immediately relay the information to local law enforcement.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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