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Search for missing man grueling, full of emotion

| Sunday, Jan. 8, 2012

Tears filled the eyes of a Bridgeville woman on Friday as a picture of her missing son flickered onto an electronic billboard on Pittsburgh's North Shore showing his face next to a plea for information for his safe return.

"That's my boy, my baby," Donna Slack said, blowing the image of Jimmy Slack a kiss. "We're not giving up,"

Slack's family and friends are aggressively spreading word of their loved one's disappearance after a Dec. 6 concert at Stage AE on the North Shore. They've posted hundreds of fliers at businesses and posted messages on Facebook. Lamar Advertising donated the use of the billboard next to Rivers Casino on the North Shore. Two psychics offered their services.

His parents, sisters and uncle said they're holding out hope for his safe return, but as each day passes, after a month with no word as to his fate, a hard reality is settling in.

"The family ... really, to each other, we don't want to say it out loud. But we're all thinking it in our hearts. At this point, we don't know how good it can turn out," Michael Lowe, Slack's uncle, said.

Slack, 25, of Bridgeville, attended The String Cheese Incident concert at Stage AE on the North Shore with a friend, but the two got separated. Paulette Beadling, 27, of the North Hills, said she couldn't find him during the show.

She left the venue and called Slack at 1:30 a.m., who said he was partying and would find his way home; 15 minutes later, he had a brief conversation with an ex-girlfriend. Pittsburgh police said Slack's cell phone showed he was at or near Stage AE, and the conversation with the ex-girlfriend was not suspicious.

At 3 a.m., Beadling texted and called Slack, but he never responded. By that point, GPS could not show the location of his phone, either because it was turned off or not working.

"My brother's my best friend," said Slack's sister, Laura Slack, 24. "It's extremely hard on me. Right now, the family's a mess."

Pittsburgh police Detective Will Fleske said yesterday that officers get reports every couple of days from people reporting they saw Slack at various locations. None has panned out, however, and police continue to investigate.

Lowe, 52, of Dormont, said he calls Slack's cell phone every couple of days. The voice mailbox is full, and no one answers.

Slack hasn't been to work at barge company Imperial Towing and there's been no activity on any of his credit cards or bank accounts. His paternal grandfather, Joseph Slack, 81, died Dec. 12, and his maternal grandmother, Ruth, 81, died on Christmas Eve, and family said he would have been there to mourn had he been able.

Lowe said that what bothers the family most is what it doesn't know.

"We believe that somebody that we don't know knows something and has not yet come forward," Lowe said. "We're hoping that someone eventually bends and comes forward."

Lowe said family posted fliers in the Meadville area, where the family has a cottage. Lowe said that TV news stations in Chicago, Philadelphia, Washington and Baltimore have run stories on his disappearance.

"I don't know too many cases like this that the family has pushed as hard as we have," Lowe said. "That's the only thing we can do. We won't let up."

Additional Information:

To help

The family of Jimmy Slack, 25, of Bridgeville, is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to his safe return. Call Pittsburgh police at 412-323-7141. Also, visit the family's Facebook page, ' Help Find Jimmy Slack .'

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