by Marc Johnson
“Never have I been content with merely occupying myself exploring the conventional or the mundane. The unexplained or the paranormal has held a fascination for me ever since I was kid. From where this fascination developed or came from I cannot say. But from reading books on ghosts and UFO’s from the school library, or sitting riveted to the television while watching episodes of In Search of, the unexplained has held a fascination and interest. These last few years I have been feeding myself a steady diet of podcasts and reading material trying reconcile the mysterious with the real world. And now I would like to share my interests with you….”
Anyone familiar with David Paulides knows that he has written a series of books dealing with the mysterious disappearances of individuals in our national parks and forests as well as rural and wilderness areas. When first hearing about these various accounts, I was disturbed yet took some solace in the fact that these disappearances were occurring outside of the city limits and urban areas. He initially avoided writing any accounts happening within city limits simply because crimes like robbery and murder were always factors in those deaths and disappearances. But that was to change.
Eventually he began to chronicle strange deaths and disappearances in urban areas and college towns that also did not follow any conventional modus operandi.
Paul Kochu was a twenty two year old emergency room nurse who worked at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh and lived in the Southside of town , a part of town known for its numerous bars and clubs.
One Saturday night, back in 2014 on December 22, he was at a particular bar by the name of Smoking Joes enjoying a game on the television with friends, one of whom was his roomate, Ben Monitu. At a certain point that night, around midnight, Paul became intoxicated and determined that it was time for him to go home.
Sometime later he called his roomate and their friend at the bar, sounding emotional, explaining how he had cut himself. They rushed home from the bar to Paul’s apartment, got him cleaned up and stopped the bleeding. His roomate Ben and their friend explained how they were then planning on going out to get something to eat but Paul declined, instead opting to stay at home. When his roomate arrived back home at the apartment, he noticed that Paul’s car was still at the residence but Paul, along with his wallet, cell phone and keys was not. Where was Paul.
As to be expected, his family eventually grew concerned wanting to know what happened to their son and numerous searches were conducted around the area of Wharton St. where Paul lived.
Fire departments and River Rescue were also eventually part of the search efforts, including the use of blood- hounds which we might remember were resources used in search efforts in cases documented by David Paulides. But similar to the cases outlined in David Paulides’s books, the bloodhounds could detect nothing and all other efforts proved fruitless as well.
It wasn’ t until several months later in March, that police in Wheeling West Va contacted Pittsburgh Police about a body found in the Ohio River. It was a forensic dentist by the name of John Carson who identified the remains as those of Kochu’s.
It is interesting to note that surveillance video from a neighbor’s home the night he dissappeared showed Paul walking down his street at around 2:45 am. past a Giant Eagle grocery store. What is curious about the video is the staggering way in which he is walking, clutching his head and holding a white object some think was a white towel or tissue. His father, upon later viewing the video and consulting some experts , said he walked as if he had sustained a head injury. This was the only clue which surfaced in this case thus far. His cell phone indicated no calls made nor received, nor was there any activity on his debit or credit cards. I really have not uncovered any other information regarding this case offering a rational explanation or reason for his dissappearance, so for now, unless any other evidence comes to light, this is one case which will also have to go into the “Sobering” catagory for now.
And might I also add, Pittsburgh further meets Mr. Paulides’s criteria for being a college town owing to the fact that the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University are just two of our more prominent colleges which call our city home, plus additionally we are also home to our three rivers, the Allegheny, Mononghehella and Ohio, from which our former stadium, the Three Rivers Stadium obtained it’s name.
Image via Pixabay.com