By Daniel Silliman
Joe is missing.
He is sick, he hasn't been seen in three months, and nobody knows where he went, or what has happened to him.
"I'm praying nobody did nothing to him," said Marilyn Denise Stewart, Joe's mother. "I'm very worried and I'm staying up all night ... I don't have any money to offer a reward. I don't have anything. I just want to know what happened to my child. I can't rest. I can't sleep. I just need to know what happened to Joe."
Joe DeAngelo Stewart is 21, bipolar, possibly schizophrenic and he hasn't been seen since July 4.
He picked up a disability check for $570 in July, in Morrow, and he cashed it that same day.
A City of Morrow police detective has checked every area hospital, every psychiatric ward, every jail and every morgue, but he can't find Joe.
"He's got no ID and no credit card, so there's no way to trace him," said Detective Curtis Turner. "He cashed his disability check in July, but I talked to the people there and they said he was alone and nothing seemed to be wrong ... I don't know how he's functioning without money. That's where I was left: Stuck. I've got no leads."
After three months with no sighting, with none of Joe's relatives in Mississippi and Chicago getting a phone call, and three disability checks laying uncollected at his mother's house in Morrow, the detective, and the man's family, have turned to the public for help.
"Please," his mother said. "Just let me know where Joe is."
Joe didn't suffer from mental illness until about two years ago, his mother said. A series of family misfortunes left him homeless for three months, limping from a bad oil burn on his foot. When he was 18-year-old, he was reunited with his mother, he was delusional, talking crazy, she said, refusing to take baths and afraid he was being poisoned.
"He wasn't like that, before," Marilyn Stewart said. "He wasn't like that. He was real sharp. He was a nice-looking, dark-skinned boy. Liked to wear nice clothes, wear jewelry. Gold and stuff. He had girlfriends. He just was sharp. On his Ps and Qs all the time."
When Joe was reunited with his mother, though, he was "messed up, real messed up," she said.
"He was looking crazy, acting weird, and getting worse by the day," his mother lamented.
She took him to Southern Regional Medical Center that winter, but his mother said she had to lie to her son to get him there, and when they got in the door, he freaked out and started fighting security guards, until six of them held him down.
Joe is OK, if he's on his medicine, but sometimes, he doesn't take it and the young, bipolar man just starts walking. He has walked as far as Mableton, Ga., in Cobb County.
That's where he was seen in July, where he cashed his check. He was wearing a yellow T-shirt and a pair of blue jeans. He apparently took his money and wandered away.
"I'm kind of at a loss here," the Morrow detective said. "I don't know where he could be. The question is, does he even know who he is, at this point?"
Anyone who has seen Joe is asked to call Detective Curtis Turner at (770) 961-4006.