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Search Engines

Aryeh Werth

When a loved one goes missing and every minute counts, these sophisticated volunteer rescue squads don’t waste any time mobilizing the community. While we hear about the critical cases — some of which end in heartbreak — these homegrown search-team heroes face the challenges, the tragedy, and the triumphs hundreds of times every year.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Yossi Margareten’s phone rang in the mobile command center. “We found something.” This was the call everyone was waiting for — but it wouldn’t lead to what everyone was davening for. It was Shabbos afternoon, the second tense day of a massive search in New Jersey for Devorah Stubin a”h, the 22-year-old frum woman who vanished Thursday night while driving home to Passaic. In addition to Tristate units from Hatzolah, Shomrim, and Chaverim, approximately 1,000 volunteers came together to try to save a life on Shabbos. Margareten, head of Chaverim of Monsey, brought in 40 trained members and split them into 12 groups. One of those groups discovered disturbing clues in nearby Wallington. The three-man team, searching on foot, spotted a broken gap in the guardrail leading down to the Passaic River, at the end of a long unlit parking lot strip where a vehicle driving straight could wind up if the driver missed the turn into Passaic. The team moved in closer, and saw parts of a bumper and then a shattered sunroof on the cliff rocks. The bumper was the same color as the missing car. The property owner of the adjacent funeral home added that he heard a crashing sound Thursday night, but didn’t see anything when he went out to look. Saturday afternoon, he noticed some damage to his fence. Margareten shared the report with the county sheriff sitting next to him. A diving unit was deployed, and later, onMotzaeiShabbos, Margareten watched as a crane pulled the smashed car out of the water. Devorah was found inside. “My heart was broken,” he recalls. “We were hoping for a better resolution.”

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