Wilkes-Barre police received a report that Luzerne County Councilman Stephen A. Urban is missing, but Urban’s son, Stephen J. Urban, said he’s confident his father is safe and he is not worried.
Police said Urban’s wife, Linda Urban, reported him missing at 10:45 p.m. Thursday. Linda Urban told police she last had contact with her husband via email on Aug. 19 and noted he provided no indication of any upcoming travel plans.
Stephen J. Urban, who is also a county councilman, said his father sent him an email Tuesday morning indicating he would not be attending Tuesday’s council meeting and was having problems with his cellphone.
He said his grandmother told him the elder Urban recently picked up his fishing pole, a cooler and backpack from her house, which leads him to believe he went on a spur-of-the-moment fishing expedition.
“I’m sure he’s fine. I’m sure he just wanted to get away and relax,” Stephen J. Urban said.
His father has gone on unannounced fishing trips in the past, including salmon fishing in Alaska, he said. His father works hard and is not obligated to report his whereabouts to others, he said.
He also noted his father, a retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel, has extensive military training and knows how to survive in the outdoors.
Linda Urban said Friday she received an email from her husband Friday morning, after she had filed the police report, stating: “Took a plane. Went fishing.” But it said nothing else.
“He’s sending me these crazy emails that do not sound like him,” she said. “He is not calling anybody. He already knows there’s a missing person’s report out on him. He would know to call police or me to say he’s OK.”
Stephen J. Urban said he told Linda Urban not to worry and didn’t believe a police report was necessary.
In a press release, headlined in bold print “Luzerne County Councilman reported missing,” city officials said anyone with information pertaining to Stephen A. Urban’s whereabouts should call Luzerne County 911 or the city police department at 826-8106.
Stephen J. Urban said he will contact police to tell them about the email he received from his father.
Stephen A. Urban, 60, who also served as county commissioner from 2000-11, could not be reached for comment Friday on his cellphone, and his voice mail box was full.
Linda Urban said she last saw Urban on Aug. 16, when she made his meal and he left for work. They parted on good terms, but he indicated he was tired, she said.
Urban emailed her on Tuesday morning to say his phone was not working and again indicated he was tired and told her she was doing a good job taking care of her dying mother, she said.
She told him she was contacting law enforcement and that police were looking for him, she said. His cellphone was detected only once in Minnesota during the period since he’s been gone, she said.
“That’s not like him. I could understand him going away for a few days, but he always calls me and says where he is going,” she said.
She hesitated to contact police because he’s a public official, she said, but decided to risk the potential embarrassment in case he is in danger.
“Something is not right,” she said. “In my heart I feel I am doing the right thing.”