[Hpn] Fw: whu~* Where's my dad, Paul Siegler?
cindy l carlson
Wed, 18 Jul 2001 13:03:44 -0700
Never Give up hope, I know another NH family that brought their brother
home after a long period of absence.
Son searching for missing dad
Mentally ill man disappeared five years ago
Tuesday, July 17, 2001
By STEPHANIE HANES
Brandyn Siegler's heart lurched when he heard about the unidentified body
near Route 3 in Hooksett early this year. The familiar feeling swelled in
his abdomen as he wished that it was, yet hoped that it wasn't, his
It wasn't. But days later, Siegler gave his DNA to a Concord police
anyway. Cells swiped from his mouth might help identify the next mystery
body, the body that could be Paul Siegler.
Paul Siegler disappeared five years ago this fall. Since then, his son
worked not only to find him, but to uncover what happened to him earlier
life. Brandyn Siegler has scratched away at what could have caused the
University of New Hampshire and Harvard graduate's mental disease, the
sickness that left him living in a tent by the Merrimack River.
For the past five years, Brandyn Siegler has agonized over his father's
life, and over his possible death.
"I'm just sick of getting that pang," he said. "I just want to know
Concord police Detective Todd Flanagan has also been looking for Siegler.
checks with New Hampshire Hospital regularly for John Doe patients that
might be the Concord man and checks Siegler's bank accounts for movement.
follows up on leads through a national law enforcement computer database.
"We check every single teletype that comes in," Flanagan said. "We track
down to see if it's a match or not."
But, so far, there have been no matches. And there's little more the
can do in this rare missing adult case, Flanagan said.
Without resources to do a full-scale, nationwide search for Siegler, the
police have to rely on the crime database. But unless they find his body,
police departments are unlikely to have records on Siegler, who was
"He doesn't have contact with the police," Flanagan said. "They don't
reason to have his name."
Paul Siegler grew up in Concord, graduating from St. Paul's School in
He earned a degree in physics from the University of New Hampshire and an
MBA from Harvard. He met his wife through Mensa, the high IQ group. The
couple lived in California.
"To this day she'll always admit that my dad was the love of her life,
always will be," Brandyn Siegler said.
But in 1976, Siegler said, his father participated in a NASA study
advertised as a weightlessness experiment. When he came back, Siegler
his father had changed.
"Before that, according to my mom, he was the man of every woman's
Siegler said. "He came back paranoid schizophrenic."
The federal government has admitted that tens of thousands of people were
victims of unethical Cold War experiments between 1944 and 1974. Many
injected with radioactive material.
While there is no proof that anything similar happened to Paul Siegler,
Brandyn Siegler and his mother are convinced. Brandyn Siegler has studied
the Cold War experiments - while at the New Hampshire Technical Institute
wrote a research paper on the subject - and said he has located NASA
that may explain his father's experiment. He said he has been told he
have access to those records, though, because NASA needs Paul Siegler's
permission to release any medical documents.
A NASA representative told a reporter that the agency does not keep
dating back to the 1970s.
Whatever happened in the experiment, soon afterward Brandyn Siegler's
parents divorced. He said his mother could not bear his father's new
Siegler and his father soon moved back to Concord, into a house his
grandmother bought for them. His mother and brother stayed in California.
His father collected Social Security, Siegler said, and took medicine.
they were happy. Siegler played baseball and studied the violin for 10
years, he said. Both he and his father had friends throughout the city.
"I couldn't have had a better dad," Siegler said.
Siegler did not know the extent of his father's mental sickness until his
senior year at Concord High School. It was during that December, Siegler
said, that he walked downstairs one morning to find a note from his
on the kitchen table. It said his father had checked himself in to the VA
Siegler panicked, but contacted the hospital. That was when he learned
his father's disease.
Paul Siegler returned home before Christmas. But when Brandyn Siegler
graduated, his father moved out of the house to stay with friends and
business associates. Then, when Siegler left Concord for Florida and
California, his father moved again.
"He said he had built a cabin on a friend's land," Siegler said with a
The friend was the city of Concord. Its land was a stretch by the
River. The cabin was a tent. But Brandyn Siegler did not know the reality
until he came back to Concord in 1996.
Brandyn Siegler ran into his dad the week he came back to town. He was at
Bear Right, where his friends used to gather, and his father was in a
booth calling the police.
Paul Siegler was looking for a homeless shelter. The weather was bitter,
his medicine had frozen in his tent.
That November was the first time Siegler had seen his father off
"He acted fine without it, but he was kind of weird," Siegler said. "He
a good-hearted person, so he was never threatening."
On Nov. 15, Siegler went back to Bear Right. He said he found his father
blessing everyone, calling them angels.
That was the last week anyone saw Paul Siegler.
Jodi Wright, a homeless advocate who stopped by to talk with Siegler
morning, later told investigators that she had found Siegler's tent empty
that week. The bible he always carried had been left behind.
Brandyn Siegler, who did not know Wright in 1996, said he had started to
panic by Christmas. In early 1997, he went to the police.
Wright said recently she would love to talk publicly about Paul Siegler,
that confidentiality rules prevent her from speaking about someone who
officially, still alive. An individual is declared dead after being
for seven years.
But some of Wright's interactions with the homeless man, as well as
conversations with Siegler related by other people, are described in a
private investigator's report. Brandyn Siegler said his grandmother, who
died last year, had hired the investigator. He obtained the report this
"You know, it almost made me happy to know these people were so close to
him," Siegler said. "It puts into words what I felt - that he was at home
here, that he had friends here."
But the report itself is one more frustration in Siegler's search. It is
dismissive about the chances of finding his father, yet Siegler said it
mis-reports the dates and events emblazoned in his memory, dates backed
by police reports. The investigator also claims to have contacted Brandyn
Siegler, which Siegler himself denies.
So even though he said his hope of finding his father alive is slowly
dripping away, Siegler still wants to search, and still yearns to know.
"The energy is sapped out of me every day, just trying to figure out what
happened," he said.
© Concord Monitor and New Hampshire Patriot
P.O. Box 1177, Concord NH 03302
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