COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - On February 17, Columbus police issued a distressing missing persons BOLO, BE ON THE LOOKOUT, to the media.
A 50-year-old man with schizophrenia named Miguel Santiago was off his medication and missing from home, and his family was worried.
We ran this picture of Santiago and told viewers he was in need of help in stories we ran on the air and on wtvm.com as well as our mobile news app, through the night and into the morning hours of Feb. 18.
A viewer watching News Leader 9 Morning that day, never thought that what he just saw on WTVM would change - and maybe even save - a life.
Scott Hinson, owner of Sun South, a John Deere dealership, says he recognized Mr. Santiago from seeing his picture on our newscast when he saw a shivering man sitting alone along 4th Street and Veterans Parkway in Columbus that same morning.
Hinson stopped and told Santiago his family was looking for him; then Hinson flagged down a police officer and explained who Santiago was, and that he had recognized the missing man from our broadcast.
Scott says he was happy he was watching News Leader 9 that morning.
We're happy he was watching too.
And we're even happier Scott found Mr. Santiago and got him to safety.
When people - of all ages - go missing, law enforcement turns to local media for help getting the word out.
News Leader 9 takes that responsibility to help very seriously.
It only takes one alert viewer to act on what he sees to make a difference.
For Scott Hinson, the Good Samaritan, it only took seeing one 60 second segment on our 5 a.m. newscast to reunite Miguel Santiago with his family.
And for that we are all thankful.