Parents Find Missing Son After Photo Of Him Homeless And 450 Miles Away Turns Up In A Newspaper

A 20-year-old man who went missing on New Years Day from his home in upstate New York ended up in an AP photo printed in a Rochester newspaper days later.

The photo was taken 450 miles south in Washington D.C. and showed Nicholas Simmons warming himself on a steam grate blocks from the Capitol building.

His parents found the photo, printed in local editions of USA Today, through a Facebook page the family set up to raise awareness about Nicholas’ disappearance, according to the Associated Press.

Here’s the section of the newspaper with the photo:

And the AP photo:

The AP photographer who snapped the image was supposed to be on duty at the White House that day, but since President Barack Obama was on vacation, she decided to take photos illustrating the cold.

Nicholas’ parents aren’t sure why he left home or how he ended up in D.C. Police picked him up on Sunday and took him to a hospital, where he reunited with his family.

USA Today notes what a freak coincidence the incident was:

To comprehend the odds of something like this happening, consider that Simmons’ photo had been selected by USA Today from the Associated Press wire, which carries thousands of photos at any given time and often offers news outlets that subscribe to the service several different images of the same event to illustrate news stories.

In this case, the Associated Press wire moved 126 photos depicting frigid conditions from across the country. Three of them were of Simmons, but only in one of them could his face be clearly seen.

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