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Sharpsburg teen found after brief but massive search

| Sunday, Aug. 13, 2017, 2:48 p.m.
More than 40 firefighters, police, EMS and other volunteers searched a half mile radius in Sharpsburg, including the river and railroad tracks, for a reported missing boy on Sunday, Aug. 13 , 2017.
Jan Pakler For the Tribune-Review
More than 40 firefighters, police, EMS and other volunteers searched a half mile radius in Sharpsburg, including the river and railroad tracks, for a reported missing boy on Sunday, Aug. 13 , 2017.

A 15-year-old Sharpsburg boy was found safe just before 2 p.m. Sunday, after Lower Valley police employed a massive search along the Allegheny River and Norfolk Southern railroad tracks.

Gino DiPasquale, of Clay Street, was sleeping at a friend's house, he told his mother, who sat on the cement parking pad at the Sharpsburg Fire hall along Main Street while more than 40 emergency service responders searched for him.

“She woke up this morning and he was gone,” Sharpsburg Police Chief Tom Stelitano said. “She didn't know if he was distraught and walked away or what happened.”

His mother reported him missing at 11:53 a.m. DiPasquale's phone was active and ringing, but he did not answer. He made no fresh posts on Facebook, police said.

Aspinwall Officer Scott Bailey said police originally got a ping from DiPasquale's phone that put it within 1,000 feet of his residence. Allegheny County expanded the scope to 1,000 meters, leading Bailey to enlist more back-up.

Police from Sharpsburg, Aspinwall, Blawnox, Etna and O'Hara staged themselves at the fire hall and near the railroad tracks at the entrance to town, just off of 23rd Street.

Pittsburgh River Rescue, along with rescue crews from Blawnox and Etna, cruised the Allegheny River on boats and jet skis searching for clues.

Emergency personnel rode through town on fire trucks and ATVs, while others knocked on doors at homes of DiPasquale's friends.

“Just as one of our guys was pounding on the door, that's when (Gino) called his mother,” Stelitano said.

Stelitano said DiPasquale has no history with police.

“I don't really know him at all,” he said. “He's never been in trouble with us.”

He said the incident should serve as a lesson to other children.

“Listen to mom and dad and follow the rules.”

DiPasquale's mother was visibly relieved but didn't offer comment other to thank police and other personnel for their time.

Tawnya Panizzi is a staff writer for the Tribune-Review. Reach her at 412-782-2121, ext. 2, tpanizzi@tribweb.com or @tawnyatrib.

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