|Name:||BELL Colin Oscar||Sex:||Male|
|Year of Birth:||1971||Age Now:||40|
|At Time of Disappearance|
|Hair Colour:||Brown||Eye Colour:||Blue/Grey||Complexion:||Medium|
|Colin was last seen in the Morisset area on 2 May 2009|
Search for missing man - Morisset
NSW Police will today conduct an extensive search for a man who went missing from a health facility at Morisset more than a week ago.
Colin Bell, aged 38, was last seen by staff at the facility on Eucalyptus Drive on Saturday 2 May.
Since being reported missing, police have conducted searches of the hospital grounds and surrounding bushland without success.
Serious concerns are held for the welfare of the missing person due to health issues.
An extensive search of the bushland and waters surrounding the facility will be conducted by police today.
Conducting the search will be officers from the rescue squad, general duties, mounted police, trail bikes, water police and the Police Air Wing.
Officers from the NSW Fire Brigades, State Emergency Service volunteers, and NSW Health staff will assist in the search.
Mr Bell is described as being of white/European appearance, 180cm tall, with a medium build, greying brown hair, a beard and moustache. He has significant light blond streaks in the fringe of his hair.
Anyone who might have seen Mr Bell, or with information on his whereabouts, is urged to contact Lake Macquarie Police via Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
Police say they have serious concerns for the welfare of Colin Bell, who vanished from the grounds of Morisset Hospital nine days ago.
An extensive land and water search across hundreds of hectares in Lake Macquarie yesterday failed to find any trace of Mr Bell, 38, who has a mental illness and needs daily medication.
As the NSW Fire Brigade and State Emergency Service volunteers joined the police search, Mrs Ulrich pleaded for public help to find her son who may have fallen ill without medication.
She last saw him five days before he disappeared, when he arrived at her place with flowers and asked for his favourite dish.
"He came over for tea and he seemed very down," Mrs Ulrich said. "This time he seemed to have had enough so I am quite concerned."
She urged anyone that saw him to call police.
"He would need police or a mental health [team] to take him to hospital," she said.
"But if anyone sees him please keep him, give him something to eat and drink and call for help."
Mr Bell, who first became ill more than 20 years ago, has gone missing several times in the past.
But that was when he had access to money and was taking medication which could last up to a fortnight.
On several occasions, he booked into a cheap motel room for a few days before either being seen by someone or ringing to be picked up.
But this time, he can't get any cash and needs medication at least once a day.
Sergeant John King, of Newcastle's police rescue squad, said he hoped someone would recognise Mr Bell and report him to police.
"With him being without his medication now for nine days, I would think his illness would cause him to stand out by now," Sergeant King said.
Police used the Polair helicopter, water and mounted police, and officers on trailbikes in the search yesterday.
Mr Bell is described as being of European appearance, about 180 centimetres tall, with a medium build, greying brown hair, a beard and moustache.
He has significant light blond streaks in the fringe of his hair.
Information should be forwarded to Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 0
"I may go for a couple of weeks being all right and then I just find myself driving around and looking at everyone to see if it is him," Mrs Ulrich said.
"It never leaves you."
Colin Bell, a 38-year-old who suffered from schizophrenia since he was a teenager, vanished from the grounds of Morisset Hospital in May last year.
His parents and seven siblings still hold hope he is alive but unable to return home.
"We know we have got to face the fact that the police or whatever believe that he is probably not with us any more," Mrs Ulrich said.
"You are OK for a while but then the nightmares come back.
"We just hope that he is out there surviving somehow."
Mrs Ulrich said she held fears her son may be holed up somewhere, his illness stopping him communicating where he is or who he belongs to.
"It's the helplessness, the uselessness that you feel," she said.
A coronial inquest is set down for Friday - the final day of the National Missing Persons Week aimed at raising awareness of the issues and impacts involved in missing persons cases.
The awareness campaign starts tomorrow.
Some 35,000 people are reported missing across Australia each year, equating to one person every 15 minutes.
The focus this year is the theme "when someone goes missing, a day spent waiting is a day lost", to serve as a reminder that people do not need to wait 24 hours to report someone missing.
And there are 592 people listed as long-term missing in NSW.
The dam was in a thickly wooded area and was subject to an air search after Mr Bell was reported missing in May last year, Newcastle Coroners Court heard this week.
Mr Bell, 38, has not been seen since he vanished from the grounds of the hospital.
He was diagnosed with schizophrenia as a teenager and required medication daily.
An inquest into Mr Bell's disappearance was meant to start this week, but it was put back to next year because a doctor was unable to give evidence, and also because a family member suggested that the dam be searched more thoroughly.
Police divers had been tentatively booked for November 22, Newcastle Coroners Court heard.
The dam in question used to be the water supply for the hospital and the town of Morisset.
Mr Bell's family, which includes seven siblings, still hopes that he is alive and surviving somewhere.
One family member told the Newcastle Herald that they appreciated the efforts of police and volunteers in searching for Mr Bell.
They were happy for the inquest to be delayed while further searches and inquiries were conducted.
Mr Bell had gone missing several times in the past, police said previously.
However, on those occasions he had access to money and was taking medication that could last up to a fortnight.
On several occasions, he booked into a motel room for a few days before either being seen by someone or ringing to be picked up.
When he went missing in May last year he did not have access to money and needed was in need of medication at least once a day.
Author: By STEPHEN RYAN
Publication: Newcastle Herald
Colin Bell, 38, was admitted to the hospital from James Fletcher Hospital as an involuntary patient before he was later transferred to a rehabilitation program at Morisset Hospital, a statement tendered to Newcastle Coroners Court said.
Mr Bell suffered from chronic schizophrenia but was doing well in the program and was staying in a cottage at the hospital that he was free to leave. But he did not have permission to leave without supervision.
He went missing on May 2, 2009. A search of bushland surrounding the hospital was conducted and a public plea for help resulted in possible sightings being reported to Crimestoppers, but police were unable to track Mr Bell down.
Deputy State Coroner Elaine Truscott ruled this week that Mr Bell had died but did not make findings about the cause, death, time or location of his death due to a lack of evidence.