Cherry Hill Police searched the Point of Woods neighborhood with helicopters Tuesday evening for a man reportedly armed with a crossbow. No one was harmed and no charges were filed.
By Matt Skoufalos | April 19, 2019
Residents in the Point of Woods neighborhood in Cherry Hill were startled by helicopters with searchlights Tuesday evening, the byproduct of an intense missing persons case that resolved peacefully a few hours later.
The incident began around 9 p.m. April 16, when police received a report of a missing middle-aged, male township resident, who was believed to have entered a forested area with a crossbow in hand.
“He wasn’t a danger to other people, but was an endangered missing person,” said Cherry Hill Police Chief Bud Monaghan. “Our purpose was to take him to a crisis center.”
Given the area in question, which borders Evesham and Mt. Laurel, the darkness of the hour, and the density of the terrain in question, police called in additional support to the scene.
First they deployed a ladder truck with thermal imaging technology, and then they called in helicopters to speed up the process. Monaghan said the tactics were an improvement over deploying officers to search a gridded area in the darkness.
“The person we were looking for had gotten past before the helicopter had arrived,” the chief said. “At that point, we did patrols, and recovered the individual Wednesday morning.”
The situation was resolved shortly before midnight, Monaghan said. No charges were filed in the incident; no crime had been committed.
The chief said that the intensity of the search and subsequent discussions about it on social media may have enflamed rumors around the incident.
“A lot of the concerns we’ve gotten is people wanted notifications in real-time,” Monaghan said.
“That’s almost impossible [when we’re doing the job].
“I understand the anxiety that might be created [from] people reading social media posts that aren’t accurate,” he said.
“It becomes that urban legend. We can’t address that [in the moment].”
Monaghan said that under circumstances in which public safety is believed to be at risk, the department would issue notifications using the Reverse 9-1-1 system, the Nixle public safety app, and its social media channels.
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