Searchers have been frantically trying to find 80-year-old Michael Emmanuel on St. Croix for more than two weeks, and his case has joined 34 other missing person reports that remain unresolved in the Virgin Islands.
In a major step forward, the territory’s first Silver Alert went out on Feb. 25 as part of the search for Emmanuel. The alert came nearly five years after lawmakers mandated use of a Silver Alert system to send out emergency notifications when an elderly or vulnerable person disappears.
Emmanuel, who was last seen on the morning of Feb. 19, has also been added to the missing persons list on the V.I. Police Department’s website.
However, his name has not been added to “NamUs,” the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System.
A free nationwide missing person database administered by the U.S. Justice Department, NamUs serves as a searchable online repository for missing and unidentified persons records that includes case data and circumstances, agency information, dental records, fingerprint classifications and DNA testing status. There are 17 missing persons listed for the Virgin Islands on the NamUs database, and 22 names listed on the V.I. Police Department website. Of those 22, only four are listed on NamUs.
One of the 22 names is a 19-year-old who was found safe in 2020, but he was still listed as “missing” on the police website.
V.I. Police spokesman Toby Derima said during a press conference on Feb. 26 that he did not know why the list has not been kept updated, or why Emmanuel’s name had not been added to it at that point.
“I can tell you that we have been feverishly searching, putting out information in the community using the media and social media. Admittedly, we haven’t gotten to the information on the website, however, the more up-to-date information is being put out almost daily on Facebook and Twitter,” Derima said.
Emmanuel’s name was added to the V.I. Police website last weekend, and the 19-year-old’s name was removed.
Another man, Augustus Marshall, 51, is still on the police missing person list but his status is “pending positive ID.”
It’s unclear if that means Marshall’s body was found after he was reported missing on Oct. 4, 2018, and “I would need to look into that,” Derima said.
Thirteen of the names on the NamUs database are not on the V.I. Police website. Cross referencing the lists yields a total of 34 names — plus Emmanuel.
The 17 names on the NamUs list include a diverse range of people, including seven women and 10 men between the ages of 14 and 85, who were reported missing between 1974 and 2019.
Emmanuel’s daughter, Enna Auguste, tearfully thanked the community for their assistance during a recent press conference, and begged additional searchers to volunteer.
“Come out. It could be your dad. It could be your husband, it could be your grandfather, your cousin. We never know who’s next in line,” Auguste said. “You never know when it will be your turn for help.”
Acting Deputy St. Croix Police Chief Sean Santos said anyone who sees Emmanuel should “keep eyes on him” and immediately call 911, “so that we can bring Mr. Emmanuel back home to his family and loved ones.”
Emmanuel, 80, who also goes by the name “Dordor” is 5 feet 5 inches tall, slim built and weighs about 150 pounds. He has brown eyes and has a dark brown complexion. He was wearing brown pajama pants that were either striped or plaid and a white sleeveless undershirt. He was not wearing any shoes. He may have also have had a blue T-shirt in hand.
There is a $3,200 cash reward for information. The police department initially offered $1,000 and Reef Broadcasting Corporation was able to raise an additional $2,200.
To help police call 911, 340-778-2211, or the Crime Tipline at 340-778-4950.