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Friends, family hope efforts will bring Israel “Izzy” Whalen home

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Published November 29. 2017 11:09AM

Kimmels Church in Orwigsburg will host a candlelight prayer vigil this Thursday for Israel “Izzy” Whalen, who went missing nearly three weeks ago.

The vigil will be held from 7-8 p.m. at 179 Pine Creek Drive. Friends and family are encouraging anyone and everyone to participate, regardless of whether they knew Whalen or not.

“First and foremost, we’re hoping to get the community together for support and prayer,” Whalen’s aunt, Celeste Kucinski, said. “We’re also looking to get some more attention, and get more eyes out there.”

Pastor Preston Broadhurst and his congregation have opened the church doors to the Whalen family in this difficult time, even providing assistance with two search efforts.

“We cannot control this situation, but we serve a God who does control the situation,” Broadhurst said. “We need his help. We’re here to support them, encourage them, and let them know that they are not alone. That’s what a family does.”

Whalen’s mother, Gina, greatly appreciates the support from the church, community and complete strangers who have offered their help, and she hopes that their efforts will bring Whalen home soon.

“Everyone has been so supportive, helpful and comforting. It’s one of the worst things that can happen, not knowing where your child is,” she said. “Keep praying for him, and keep him in your thoughts.”

Whalen, 23, disappeared on Nov. 10 while working on an inventory control job for CIS at Spirit Halloween in Carlisle. He took his lunch break alone at a nearby Red Robin, where he paid for a burger and left before it was delivered. When he did not return to the store following his allotted break time, his co-workers checked the surrounding shops, finding nothing. Whalen’s manager contacted Carlisle State Police.

Police conducted a bloodhound search of the area on Nov. 12, finding Whalen’s scent trailing from the Red Robin to Fairview Street between York Road and Lisburn Road.

Whalen was last seen wearing a black or dark blue CIS workshirt with a long-sleeve undershirt. He is 5 feet 9 inches tall, 150 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes. He had left his phone at home on the day of his disappearance, and has not used his bank account since that day.

Whalen has been diagnosed with bipolar depression and is considered a danger to himself. His manager said that the disappearance was uncharacteristic of his behavior, and fellow employees at the inventory control company said that nothing appeared wrong with him.

Friends and family request that anyone who may have seen Whalen on the day of his disappearance or anytime thereafter please contact the Carlisle State Police at 717-249-2121. A $10,000 cash reward is being offered for information leading directly to Whalen’s safe return, or identification leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone responsible for his disappearance.

“We’re praying that Izzy comes home,” Kucinski said. “We really miss him, he’s a very important part of our family, and we hope that he comes home.”

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