June 4, 2014 at 10:12 am EDT | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
Gay Hyattsville man reported missing
Jorge Ortega-Paredes, gay news, Washington Blade

Jorge Ortega-Paredes was last seen on May 28. (Photo courtesy of Luis Melgar)

A 38-year-old gay man has been missing since May 28 when he left the Hyattsville, Md., apartment where he and his husband have lived to walk to the home of friends who live in nearby Tacoma Park, according to one of his friends.

Hyattsville police said in a statement that Jorge Ortega-Paredes was last seen leaving his apartment in the 2800 block of Nicholson Street. The friend, Robert Richardson, said Ortega-Paredes left the apartment about 10:15 p.m.

“He never showed up at this friends’ place, he never showed up at work, and he never contacted his family,” Richardson said. “He just left basically with his backpack and his keys and a few things in it.”

A Hyattsville police spokesperson didn’t immediately respond to a call from the Blade. WUSA News reported that police said Ortega-Paredes was last seen wearing a dark tan V-neck shirt, gray pants, a brown belt, black socks and black tennis shoes. He is 5’8” tall and weighs about 190 pounds, WUSA reported.

Richardson said Ortega-Paredes, a citizen of the Dominican Republic, married his husband, Luis Melgar, 38, last August in a ceremony in Rockville.

Melgar told the Blade he filed a missing persons report with police on May 30. He said he and his friends have been frantically searching for Ortega-Paredes since last week, visiting hospitals with a photo of the missing man, desperately hoping some sign of his whereabouts would surface.

“The feeling of not knowing if he is injured or alive – it’s just awful,” Melgar said. “We don’t know what to do now.”

Melgar said he’s especially frustrated that police have yet to say if they have attempted to trace Ortega-Paredes’ cell phone records to see if calls have been made on his phone since he disappeared.

He said he reached his husband’s cell phone voicemail about 10:45 p.m. on May 28, about 30 minutes after Ortega-Paredes began what was to be a 45-minute walk from the couple’s apartment to friends who live about two miles away on the 700 block of Fairview Road in Tacoma Park, Md. In subsequent calls placed to the phone, there was no ringing. The calls went directly to voicemail, Melgar said, leading him to suspect something happened between 10:15 and around 11 p.m.

Cricket Wireless, the service provider for Ortega-Paredes’ phone, refused to provide any information about calls placed to or from the phone when Melgar called them, saying they could only release such information to police through a court order.

“It’s like he just vanished,” said Melgar.

Hyattsville police say anyone with information about Ortega-Paredes’ whereabouts should call them at 301-985-5060.

Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou

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