ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – It’s been nearly 11 weeks since a beloved south St. Louis County restaurant worker seemed to vanish.
In June, St. Louis County police issued an Endangered Silver Advisory for Stephen Wehrman, 61, who has a learning disability. There were no updates regarding his whereabouts.
But after 76 days, his family had incredible news to share with FOX 2 on Monday: Stephen had been located and was coming home.
His brother, Marty, a retired Mehlville fire captain, pointed to the power of prayer.
“My prayer was that he was being taken care of,” Marty Wehrman said.
It had been 76 days since Stephen didn’t show up for his long-time job at Bartolino’s South restaurant; 76 days since he went to his bank, withdrew some money, and seemed to vanish; 76 days of worry and prayer.
People all over St. Louis had been praying for his safe return. That included Michael Saracino, Stephen’s boss at Bartolino’s. Stephen has worked as a dishwasher at the restaurant for nearly 40 years.
“This morning, I was at (Catholic) mass and someone asked me (about Stephen). I said, ‘No, he hasn’t been found,’” Saracino said.
Later that morning, he was found safe. Stephen called his brother, Nick, from the Franciscan Outreach shelter in Chicago, saying he wanted to come home.
After stopping at his bank in June, Stephen apparently hired a cab to take him to Chicago.
His family has no idea why. They have no relatives there.
“He’s been fed. He’s been showered. He’s been cleaned. He’s had a place to sleep. All those things,” Marty said.
Each one of those things was an answer to his daily prayers.
“I get up in the middle of the night and say, ‘Ok, where you at, Stephen? Hope you’re not sleeping in some bush somewhere.’ It all turned out good,” Marty said.
“If he wants to come back to work, he has a job here. We just can’t wait to see him, give him a hug, tell him we love him, support him. We’ll do whatever we can to get him through,” Saracino said.
“It’s like I’ve been punch drunk the last 76 days. You wake up with that every day,” Marty said.
Though he and his family would like more answers about what happened and why, day 76 brought the only answer that really mattered, he said.