Wednesday, August 15, 2007


Search for missing scout
Kimball Perry, Cincinnati Enquirer

Gerry Beard looks at the pencil marks on the door jamb and gives a small smile, remembering the line dated July 23, 2004.

That’s the date her oldest child, 15-year-old Tony Beard, became taller than his 5-foot-3 mom.
Now, her 5-foot-9, 145-pound son can’t be found, having gone missing Sunday afternoon while on his way to a Boy Scout meeting.

“I think he’s a runaway,” Gerry Beard said from her Westwood home.

She and her husband, also named Tony, their family, friends and the neighborhood have been hunting for the 15-year-old, making more than 2,000 posters, calling police and following up on possible sightings.

Foul play isn’t suspected.Instead, the parents question why the teen, who has had so much success in the past, probably is hiding in nearby woods in Mount Airy Forest.

“I am hopeful that he only needed time to think,” the mom said. “He can be very heavy at times, things weigh on him.”

The teen has been missing since about 1 p.m. Sunday when his parents talked to him as he left their house on his way to a scout meeting, wearing a scout T-shirt.

The father, also active in the Boy Scouts, said several scout troops are massing later today at Mount Airy Forest – where local scouts have camped out before on retreats – to do a sweep in the hope of finding the teen.

“This is kind of the ultimate,” the father said, “to walk away with no word.” The teen left his personal items home – his zip drive, his camping gear, his broken cell phone, most of his money and the vitamins the mom just bought the workout buff teen.

Police showed up at the Beard house at about 1 p.m. today, talked to the father, looked at the teen’s room and then took the teen’s computer with them, hoping to find clues as to why he left.

The teen was to start attending a new school Tuesday, transferring from Covington Latin to Walnut Hills High where he would be a senior at age 15. It was the teen’s choice to change schools, the parents said.“It frustrates him that he can’t be free,” the mom said. “He doesn’t want to tell us where he’s going.”

The Beards are mystified why he would run away – if that is what’s happened – but note he would be going away to college next year and have lots of freedom.

In addition to starting a new school, the teen set up a Tuesday job interview at the Gamble- Nippert YMCA on Montana Avenue but missed it. He also hasn’t contacted his best friend or new girlfriend.

There have been several unconfirmed sightings since Monday, most in the general area of their home. But the mom is convinced one sighting was accurate. The person she talked to mentioned something about her son that hasn’t been mentioned in the media yet.

“We’ll just be so glad to see him,” his father said.

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