A man reported missing from Friendswood was reunited with his family in late January thanks to the collective teamwork between employees at City Hall Annex and the Heights Multi Service Center. A mystery began to unfold after a seemingly homeless man wandered into the office of Department of Neighborhoods employee Anna Peña on three consecutive days. Peña joined forces with HPD Office Lisa Green and employees at the Heights Multi Service Center to identify and assit the man.
Here is her account:
"On Monday, Jan. 22, a homeless older gentleman entered my office, Department of Neighborhoods at the City Hall Annex, asking for an apartment and some food. I referred him to our nearest Multi-Service Center, 170 Heights Blvd. where we are actively operating a Neighborhood Recovery Center (NRC).
Tuesday, he returns to my office again asking for the same things as in Monday. I again referred him to the Heights.
Wednesday, he repeated the same pattern.
Thursday, he entered City Hall from 901 Bagby, the rotunda where he became a bit aggressive and had to be escorted off the property by HPD.
Friday, morning HPD Officer Lisa Green, who is stationed at the Council Reception Area, came into my office showing me a photo of a missing man from Friendswood since Jan. 19. Officer Green asked me if he looked familiar? I agreed he looked like the homeless man that had been coming into our office, however wasn’t 100 percent positive. We then figured out that in order for him to receive a visitors badge to come into my office, he would have needed a photo ID. We asked to review the sign-in sheets, and BINGO, Mr. Michael Paul Ruff, the missing man from the news was a match! It definitely was him.
Officer Green called Friendswood Police Department and informed them that Mr. Ruff indeed has been seen and identified as the homeless man who wears a pink fedora hat. Friendswood directed us to hold him and call them to come pick him up.
I then started analyzing his pattern and thought that since he suffered from dementia and he had demonstrated a pattern of coming to visit me every day, forgetting what I told him the day before, that perhaps he would go back to the Heights Center, as well. I called Jack Valinsky our Community Liaison at the HMSC and alerted him to be on the lookout for this person, it was just a hunch of mine. I also alerted everyone on our floor to be looking out for the man with the pink hat. And BINGO…about two hours later Mr. Ruff who they had not seen since Monday when I sent him over there, appeared.
They called me for some directives I told them to call HPD so they could hold him. Officer Green contacted Friendswood Police and they finally came to pick him up.
It was a happy ending. Mr, Ruff had been missing since January 19, his family had posted his photo on FOX news Friday morning hoping that he would be recognized…..and it worked.
I would like to share with the mayor this amazing team work and possibly recognize the City of Houston employees who were involved in returning Mr. Ruff back to his family. The Heights Center did a remarkable job in holding him and keeping him occupied until HPD arrived. KUDOS to everyone. Great team work.
Employees involved included:
City Hall Annex: Officer Lisa Green, HPD, Annie Pena, DON-MCAO
Heights Multi Service Center: David Curtis , Houston Area Urban League; Susana Castillo, Health Department.; Sopheak Pen, Health Department.; Martha Garza, Health Department.; Jaylend Johnson, Health Department.; Jack Valinski, DON-MCAO; Maximino Rosas, DON-MCAO.