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Family searches for missing Orwigsburg man

Published November 14. 2017 09:13PM

When 23-year old Israel Sky Whalen of Orwigsburg seemingly vanished into thin air Friday in Cumberland County, he left behind his cellphone, his winter coat, his wallet, and a cryptic, worrisome note.

“I wish I was never born. I wish I had done this a long time ago,” his aunt, Celeste V. Kucinski of Luzerne County, says Whalen, affectionately known as Izzy, wrote.

“A lot of it was undecipherable,” she says. “It wasn’t a direct threat, but it was enough to scare us, based on his mental health history.”

Whalen, who lives with his mother, Gina Whalen, and stepfather, Travis Williams, in Orwigsburg, has struggled for years with severe depression and mental health issues, Kucinski says.

On Friday, Whalen had walked across the street from the store in Carlisle where he was working with an inventory company to pick up an ordered and paid-for lunch.

But once inside, security cameras showed Whalen turning around and leaving without the order.

“We don’t know what happened between the time he ordered and when he went to pick up the food,” Kucinski says.

Bloodhounds brought in Friday evening by state police at Carlisle picked up Whalen’s scent at the restaurant.

The dogs “followed his scent from the restaurant about half a mile, where it stopped abruptly,” Kucinski says.

Acting on tips that placed Whalen in his hometown, his family organized a search.

“We had about 40 people out there searching. We had dogs, and people searched on horseback. We searched woods, abandoned buildings, everywhere. We came up with nothing,” Kucinski says.

She feels helpless.

“It’s almost like a ‘just wait’, but we can’t just sit and do nothing. He might be out there in the cold,” she says.

“All we can do is wait and pray.”

Izzy is 5 feet, 9 inches with brown hair and glasses. He was last seen in Carlisle, wearing a black shirt with a WIS International company logo.

Anyone who sees Whalen or has information on his whereabouts is asked to call state police at Carlisle at 717-249-2121.

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