A Mysterious Story
How did two teenagers from Lackawanna County in Pennsylvania end up going viral, In March 2017? It’s a crazy story, one which was going to give them their fifteen minutes of fame, calling attention from the police, the media, and the public. It starts unexpectedly, and goes on to include mystery, confusion and intrigue. Interested? So were we. Read on to find out what happened to these two kids, and how it all went down…
Just Two Teenage Boys
Alec Yanisko was just 15 years old, and his friend 18 year old Joe Delvecchio just 18 when they were out riding on their ATV’s one early evening. They and their others friends spent many an evening in this way, heading down to the woods near their houses, and didn’t expect that tonight would be any different to a number of other evenings. They certainly didn’t expect to find anything unusual or out of the ordinary.
The woods near their home in Lackawanna County were as well known to them as most people’s back gardens. While not private, the boys knew the types of people that were usually there, such as other quad bikers, and even hikers. But on this particular evening, they could see something else beyond the trees. Not a person, it wasn’t moving, but something which definitely shouldn’t be there, and was out of place.
Something Hiding Beyond the Trees
Once they got a bit closer, the boys realized that it was a car. But unlike many other cars which were with families or on their way somewhere, this car was abandoned, left out of sight, and seemingly hidden amongst the forestry. Something did not seem right, and while the boys didn’t know what was going on, they didn’t want to ignore it either. They started to think about the reasons why this didn’t make sense to them.
Away From Sight
The main thing which made the boys feel uncomfortable about this sighting was that the car was found more than a quarter of a mile away from the nearest road. How did it get there, without a proper road to drive on? Why would anyone drive a car into the middle of the woods and then just leave it there? And perhaps most importantly, where was whoever had driven it, what had happened to the driver or any passengers?
Stuck in Place
Yanisko and Delvecchio tried to get closed, perhaps to move the car and find out more information. It was at that point that they realized it was stuck in place, and couldn’t be moved. As it began to get dark, the boys tried to peer inside. Could someone still be in the car? Was someone in trouble? Despite it getting later, the two teenagers decided to stick around at the scene and try to get some more clues together.
This clearly wasn’t a straightforward situation, as they boys realized when they took a closer look. The car was trapped in place with a tree log, and many of the windows had been smashed. This made it easy for them to look inside, searching on the floor of the vehicle and in the glove compartment for signs of a drivers identity, hoping to work out who this abandoned car belonged to, and what to do next. They also looked around the scene, but it was bare.
Their First Clue
Finally, the boys struck Gold. They found a retail card, which was for Sam’s Club. The name on the card was Edwin Kosik. Was this the driver of the car? Had he been here recently? There were still so many questions to answer, and this card was the first piece of the puzzle. But could they find anything else? A name can be a useful tool to find out more about someone, so as teenage boys, they turned to social media, to find out more.
The two boys agreed that they would try using the Internet to find out more about who Edwin Kosik was. They tried Facebook first, and then Google, and immediately got all the answers they needed. They realized with one click that they had stumbled across something more important than they ever could have guessed. How had they got tangled up in this, and what should they do next? One click can change everything.
A Federal Judge
The man whose card they found was actually a federal judge. He was 92 years old, and most importantly, he was missing. He hadn’t been seen or heard from in more than two days, and the police and media were urgently looking for any information about his whereabouts. And here were these two teenage boys, the only people in the world who had knowledge about his vehicle and where it was. They couldn’t believe it.
What Does it Mean?
The boys immediately looked again to see if the old man was lying somewhere hurt around the vehicle, perhaps after being in a car crash or having a medical episode. But he was nowhere to be seen. They went home, and told their parents about what they had found, which of course led to them calling the police, and involving the authorities in their discovery. The Police asked the boys to show them what they had found.
Alec Yanisko spoke to the Times-Tribune in April 2017, once the whole ordeal was over. “I was a little scared,” he admitted. “I didn’t think they’d find him alive.” A search party had begun, complete with volunteers and search dogs, hoping to find the federal judge, and find out what had happened to him. The teenagers could never have guessed what would end up happening when they just went out on their ATV bikes for a fun evening out together.
The Public Get Involved
Soon, the media were informed of the search party, and things started to spread even more widely. The state of Pennsylvania got on board with the search effort, displaying billboard messages looking for the judge, complete with messages of hope from the public. “I’m shocked. I’m very upset because he’s a great man and we don’t want anything happening to him” said Georgia Fisch, of Madison Township.
Taking Matters Into Their Own Hands
Some well meaning citizens like Georgia even decided to take to the streets themselves, so worried they were about the whereabouts of Kosik, and whether he was ok. A 92 year old man missing is no joke, and he could be lost, confused, or hurt. Georgia said, “I’ve gone up the mountain, Aston mountain, checking the back roads and stuff, just seeing if he made a wrong turn somewhere and got lost!”
Reports Coming In
Later, reports started coming in which gave people hope that the Judge was going to be found. The family were cooperating in getting all the information people needed out there, such as that he was on medication to help with dementia and memory loss. If he hadn’t been taking them while he was missing, he might well be confused and disoriented when he was found. US Marshals said that it was possible he has been sighted on the Pennsylvania Turnpike.
Judge Kosik has been working as a federal judge for more than 30 years, and he was well loved by the community. Soon, a video came in with more evidence about where he had been. Bill’s Shoprite shared a surveillance video of him trying to get into a store in Covington Township the day before, but the store had been closed. This helped the authorities narrow down the search field, hoping to catch a sighting of the judge.
Keeping Your Eyes Peeled
The information they had was that he had disappeared from his home, which was near the town of Scranton about half past one in the morning, wearing jeans and a blue coat. The last place that he had been seen was trying to get into Bill’s Shoprite, now more than 24 hours previously. Chris Powell, defense attorney told the media, “We want to know what happened to him. I was just over in court this morning and it’s on everybody’s mind.”
Martin Payne was the name of the United States Marshall on the case, and he refused to state one way or the other whether they thought that Kosik’s disappearance could be a crime or not. Had he just left his home of his own accord, or could he possibly have been attacked or taken? As a judge, it’s possible that he upset someone with one of his rulings, and he wasn’t exactly your average 92 year old man. Through all this, the boys sat and waited for news.
One person in particular was gripped with fear and concern. Kosik’s son. He knew better than anyone how frail his dad was, and how he was reliant on his memory medication. He could be anywhere, lost and alone, and unaware of where he lived or how to get back there. The weather was cold, especially overnight, and his dad was by no means a young man. He was hoping and praying for any break in the case which would bring him home.
A Thrilling Discovery
Once the Police had been called about Kosik’s car, the hunt became much simpler. They brought search dogs to the location of the car, and the dogs picked up the scent almost immediately. Only 100 meters away, there was the 92 year old judge! All of this time, he had been right there, while the boys searched his car and tried to work out his identity. But was he okay? Was he conscious? Was he even alive?
Although he was alive, Kosik was far from well. He was hardly conscious, and didn’t know where he was. Officials at the scene tried to talk to him, and managed to see that he was lucid, and had his memories. He even recognized one of the marshalls well enough to note that he’s had his hair cut recently! But how had he got there? What was the truth behind this mystery, and would Kosik remember enough to tell everyone, including the teenage boys who had helped him?
Two Days Alone?
The police marshall was interviewed by the media, all clamoring to find out what had happened to the well loved and respected judge throughout the period he was missing. “I don’t know exactly how long he was in this state for, but it is very possible that he was there the whole time” he said. He pieced this together by the fact that he was wearing the same clothing which he was in when he went missing.
Kosik was of course, taken to the hospital to be checked out by medical professionals. The Judge’s son told the media that his father already had some old injuries, broken ribs from previous falls which may have been hurt again by this ordeal. The hospital reported that he was in “fair condition”, incredible considering what had happened. But could he tell the world what had really happened, and how he had ended up there?
We already know that Kosik had been on medication for memory loss. He was also no longer sitting as a judge, becoming ‘inactive’ in court, due to his ailing health. Could it be that there were more medical problems under the surface which led to this chain of events? What could lead a 92 year old man to end up so far away from the road, with his car badly damaged and with no help anywhere in sight? Finally, they pieced together the sequence of events.
Dangerous Memory Loss
Kosik had suffered from a bout of memory loss, and while out in his car he realized he didn’t know where he was. Feeling disoriented, he crashed his car into the log in the woods, and was left stuck and confused about what to do next. In the dark, the cold, totally alone and lost, he collapsed in the woods 100 yards from the car, from exhaustion and fear. It is truly a miracle that he was found alive and well.
Delvecchio and Yanisko
It’s horrible to think what might have happened if the two teenage boys hadn’t come across his car, and taken the time to inspect it and look for clues. In fact, US Marshall Martin Pane even praised them for their part in finding Kosik. “We’re very thankful to these two young men that they saw this vehicle, happened to be in this area, fortunately,” Pane told Fox News when he was interviewed about the incident in April 2017.
Happy to Help
Delveccio has brushed off the gratitude, saying that they didn’t do anything so heroic. “We’re glad he’s okay, glad that we could help out.” He claims it was just a matter of being “at the right place at the right time.” Delveccio himself says that he would like to be a police officer some day, and it looks like he absolutely has the right spirit for the job!
The two teenage boys even went to visit the federal judge while he was in the hospital, to speak to him and let him know that they were glad that he’s safe. They had never met him before the incident, but we’re sure that they got on great! Later, the judge came to watch when they were presented with an award in front of their classmates and parents. He said, “It was an honor to watch them receive their award, I am sat here today because of them”.
They Should Be Proud
And he’s right! If it wasn’t for these two boys, things could have been a lot worse for the judge. Some kids would have just ignored the car, or even looked for what they could steal rather than what they could help uncover. If they hadn’t thought to look online, they might never have pieced together enough to call the police. By doing this, they literally saved a life, and helped a worried family be reunited.
Edwin Kosik himself, as well as his won and the rest of their family could not be more grateful that this story has a happy ending thanks to the clever boys who used their initiative to get help quickly. Edwin’s son spoke to the media and made it clear that he could never thank them enough. “I don’t know how I can ever repay them, for helping to bring my father back to me”. Stop it, I’m not crying, YOU’RE crying.