Jorry Palm rarely spoke of his high-security work at Lockheed Martin, even with his father.
Now that Palm has been missing for nearly three weeks, the Akron man’s work, home life, friends, hobbies and habits are being examined.
All fell silent after 6 a.m. June 9. No cell-phone calls. No credit-card use. No bank withdrawals. Nothing. Just silence.
Palm, a Kent State University graduate and a computer whiz, visited two local bars June 8 into the following morning. He was alone, but he seemed fine, spending time drinking while his close friends were away camping.
In between visits to the bars, sometime around 2 a.m., he twice drove his bright red Mazda 6 to the same ATM. He withdrew $60 one time, $100 the next. Bank surveillance photos show he was alone and apparently OK.
Next, it appears Palm, 28 and single, drove toward his hometown in Niles. A cell-phone tower in the eastern Ohio town pinged his presence about 6:15 a.m.
Since then, silence. No one is sure whether Jorry Palm is dead or alive.
On Thursday, his father, Steve Palm of Cortland, and Akron police met with reporters to update the case and make a public appeal for information as the investigation has stalled.
“I’m a dad. I just want my son to come home,” Steve Palm said. “I’m hoping for a great reunion.”
For now, what happened to Jorry Palm remains a mystery. He has no criminal history, nor any past medical or psychological troubles. He was a balanced man with few worries. Walking away from his life would be out of character, Steve Palm said.
Still, to his father and police, it’s as if Jorry Palm has just vanished.
During the past several weeks, Steve Palm has often driven the same course between Akron and Niles, hoping for some clues. He has also overseen a website devoted to his son: www.findjorry.com.
Police in Akron and Niles and the FBI have assisted in investigating Palm’s disappearance. Steve Palm has interviewed his son’s friends and Lockheed Martin co-workers. He also has retained a private investigator to aid in the search.
Jorry Palm spent some time at Tiny’s Tavern on Triplett Boulevard and later at Karam’s Lounge on Brown Street. He also visited a PNC bank on East Wilbeth Road twice that morning.
He was reported missing June 11, when he failed to contact friends or show up for work at Lockheed Martin, where he holds security clearance status for the government contractor.
He lives in an Oakwood Avenue home in Akron, near East Wilbeth Road, with two roommates. He recently started dating a woman.
Police Detective Sgt. Jim Currie and Lt. Rick Edwards said the case is considered a high priority because of the circumstances surrounding Palm’s disappearance. Unlike some other missing person cases, Palm has no history of mental, physical, financial or drug abuse problems.
“On this one, after 6:14 on June 9, there is no contact,” Edwards said. “There’s been no contact with friends, no Facebook, not showing up for work. It’s totally unlike him.”
Currie said a vast majority of missing person cases are resolved when the subject contacts friends or family.
The fact Palm is a computer engineering specialist with a fair-sized network of friends and family makes it more unusual that he has not used his phone or computer to make contact.
“Most other adults this age will have contact with somebody. And people are creatures of habit. They can’t stay away from their cell phones. They can’t stay off their Twitter accounts. . . . That’s what’s so strange,” Currie said. “There’s been no contact since that morning. It’s as if everything stopped.”
Steve Palm is a father of three who runs his own painting company, and as a devout Christian, said his faith is helping through this crisis. He said prayers from fellow church members and Jorry’s friends across the country have helped him cope. He said he remains optimistic his son will come home safe.
Authorities intend to distribute fliers and contact business owners in the area where Jorry Palm’s cell phone last pinged. They are also seeking help in finding Palm’s car, which bears license plate FDX 3947.
For now, Steve Palm can only wait.
“It’s a tragic situation,” he said. “You’re always looking at other people [in these types of news stories]. It looks like I’m the ‘other people’ this time. . . . But do I think my son is dead? Nope, nobody’s told me that yet. So, I’m going to believe he’s alive.”
Anyone with information is asked to call Akron police at 330-375-2490. Anonymous tips may be left at http://akron ohio.gov/asp/tip.html.
Phil Trexler can be reached at 330-996-3717 or firstname.lastname@example.org.