MILWAUKEE -- Saturday, the search for Tom Hecht became one week old. Friends and family who searched all week changed their focus for St. Patrick's Day. They took to Water St. hoping to raise awareness and generate tips from bar-goers who may have seen Hecht the previous Saturday.
Hecht was last seen Saturday, March 10th at Rosie's bar on Water Street. He was taking part in the "Shamrock Shindig" bar crawl. Since Hecht disappeared, friends and family members have been walking the streets near Water Street and along the Milwaukee River near Hecht's Commerce Street condo, looking for clues and posting flyers.
Hecht's parents stood at Highland and Water Saturday, March 17th. They say the support of friends and the community has helped them stay optimistic. "It's almost like living someone else's life," Tom's father, Robert said. "I still wake up in the middle of the night and it's like I can't believe this is happening to me."
John Gould is one of the group's leaders. His sister is Hecht's girlfriend. He flew in from Florida when he heard Hecht had gone missing. "I got on the first flight out and came here," Gould said. "And just started trying to organize with his dad and trying to figure out a way we could start organizing searches."
Saturday's efforts began at 7 a.m. and continued until 6 p.m. Donning bright orange shirts, the group held posters with Hecht's picture. The hope was that someone in the St. Patrick's Day crowd would give them new information. "Tom, your family misses you," Robert Hecht pleaded. "Everyone - your friends miss you. We want you back and we're not gonna stop until we get you back."
The group planned to resume its search Sunday afternoon, March 18th. Members have created a website to serve as a hub for the latest information on search plans.