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Missing Pa. judge, 91, found alive in wooded area

Written by Michael Rubinkam/The Associated Press | Mar 31, 2017 3:28 AM
edwin_kosik.jpg

This image provided by the Pennsylvania State Police shows Edwin Kosik.  (Pennsylvania State Police via AP)

(Scranton) -- A 91-year-old federal judge with memory problems who was reported missing from his home earlier this week and who had last been seen trying to get into a closed store and then driving away was found alive Thursday night.

Edwin Kosik was found about 100 yards from his car in a wooded area of Dunmore, outside Scranton, U.S. Marshal Martin Pane told The Associated Press.

Kosik was conscious and talking and was taken to a hospital, he said.

"We're hopeful he will have a full recovery," Pane said.

The judge, who takes medication for memory loss and stopped hearing cases last month, disappeared from his home Tuesday night, sparking an intensive search involving the U.S. Marshals Service, state police and the FBI.

Two boys found Kosik's Acura SUV around 7:30 p.m., saw the judge's ID in the vehicle and alerted law enforcement. A search dog immediately picked up the scent and found the judge, who was lying on his back.

"I told him who I was, and his first statement to me was, 'You cut your hair.' He knew who I was," said Pane, who works in the federal courthouse in Scranton where Kosik spent more than 30 years on the bench.

Kosik, who sent two corrupt judges to prison for their roles in a notorious juvenile justice scandal known as "kids for cash," was last seen just after 11 p.m. Tuesday trying to enter a grocery store pharmacy near his home outside Scranton. The store was closed, and Kosik drove in the opposite direction from his house, Pane said. He left his wallet and phone at home.

Electronic highway signs flashed news of the judge's disappearance, and officials asked for the public's help in finding him. State police searched the area via helicopter but had found no immediate trace of Kosik's gray SUV.

Chief Judge Christopher C. Conner had issued a statement saying the court was "obviously very worried about our dear colleague" and was "hoping for a quick and safe return."

Kosik, appointed to the federal bench in 1986 by President Ronald Reagan, is best known for imprisoning the corrupt judges in the "kids for cash" scandal.

The local judges, who were accused of taking money from the developer of a pair of for-profit youth detention centers, initially pleaded guilty to federal charges, but Kosik rejected the deal, saying they hadn't fully accepted responsibility for the crimes. Kosik sentenced one judge to 17 1/2 years in prison and the other judge to 28 years.

Kosik's family reported him missing around 4 p.m. Wednesday.

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