Last night at approximately 8:40 p.m., 4th District officers responded to a residence in the 700 block of Brandon Green Drive in Silver Spring for the report of a missing 72-year-old man.
4th District officers, led by Sergeant Michael Chuckeral, spoke with the missing man’s wife, who stated that her husband, Shing Wong, had not returned from a medical appointment in Wheaton that morning. Officers learned that Mr. Wong was driving a 1997 Honda Accord. He had a cellular phone but was not answering. Mr. Wong also had medical issues which were of concern. At that time, a Silver Alert was issued.
Officers from the Electronic and Technical Surveillance Unit (ETSU) began to track Mr. Wong’s cellular phone signal. At 10:00 p.m., Mr. Wong’s phone was showing in the general area of the Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Harford County.
At approximately 11:00 p.m., Mr. Wong’s wife made contact with her husband on his phone. Mr. Wong told her that he did not know where he was but that he was in water, his car battery had died, and he was unable to get out of his vehicle. 4th District officers, cognizant of the unknown power level of Mr. Wong’s cell phone battery, asked Mr. Wong direct and pointed questions about his surroundings. Mr. Wong was able to note that he was near or under a wooden bridge and that the water was up to his waist.
After learning this information, officers focused the search on the Gunpowder River in the area of the Aberdeen Proving Grounds. As officers talked with Mr. Wong to gather additional information about his possible whereabouts, other officers continued to attempt to trace his cell phone location. The Department also requested the assistance of the Maryland State Police helicopter in performing an aerial search of the area. The United States Coast Guard and the Aberdeen Proving Ground Police and Fire&Rescue personnel also were contacted and lent their assistance with the search. Montgomery County Police Search Coordinator, Jason Huggins, also responded to the area.
At approximately 12:30 a.m., Mr. Wong answered a phone call from his wife but did not talk.
Around this time, officers received another signal from Mr. Wong’s phone which indicated that the phone was in the area 3.5 miles north of the original signal and was in the area of the Bush River. As Montgomery County Police Officer Jason Huggins (Search Coordinator) and Harford County Sheriff’s Deputies responded to that area, Montgomery County Police Search Coordinator, Officer John Greene, remotely analyzed geographic, hydrographic, and satellite data to determine possible search areas. Those areas were provided to Officer Jason Huggins (see third photo below) who was now in the area of the Bush River.
Harford County Sheriff’s Deputies Tatum and Walsh and Montgomery County Police Officer Jason Huggins located Mr. Wong sitting in his vehicle in a creek (at the dead end of Perry Drive) that flows into the Bush River. The water level was even with the driver’s side window. Mr. Wong was cold, disoriented, and stated that he could not move. Officer Huggins was able to remove Mr. Wong from his vehicle and carry him to Emergency Medical Services from Harford County. Mr. Wong was transported to a local hospital for treatment of hypothermia; his condition improved at the hospital. The temperature of the water was approximately 52 degrees Fahrenheit.
The Department would like to thank the Maryland State Police, the United States Coast Guard, the Aberdeen Proving Ground Police and Fire&Rescue personnel, and the Harford County Sheriff’s Office for their assistance in locating Mr. Wong.