Mentally handicapped man found safe in Joplin - KOAM TV 7

Mentally handicapped man found safe in Joplin


A mentally handicapped man is found today. 19 year old Thomas "Sam" Riekenberg ran from direct care staff yesterday evening into a nearby wooded area. He is in the care of Out ‘n About, a group home in Mound Valley, Kansas. He was being checked into Freeman's emergency room following homicidal comments.

The caretakers, Freeman security, and Joplin Police followed Riekenberg to the wooded area but police could not set up a perimeter.

“We had a number of officers in the area, that's a very large wooded area, and there’s a deep ravine there so what we did was we made contact with a number of the neighbors in the neighborhood to let them know what we were looking for and who we were looking for so that they would also keep an eye out but we just simply weren't able to locate him because of the terrain,” says Captain Bob Higginbotham with the Joplin PD.

Officers on patrol today were aware of Sam’s appearance.

“One of our officers recognized him and was able to make contact and it ended very well. He was peaceful, he wanted help, and he had weathered the night successfully, thankfully and so we're just glad to have him back and safe,” continues Higginbotham.

Sam was found in Joplin by St. Louis Avenue and Broadway Street. He has since been admitted to Freeman.

We reached out to Out ‘n About and they declined to comment.

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