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Seminole man launches effort to find missing disabled brother

SEMINOLE — It was been a week since Robert Dulin journeyed to Congressman C.W. Bill Young's office in Seminole. And it has been a week since the 58-year-old disabled man mysteriously vanished after leaving the office to head home.

On Tuesday, his brother, Tom Dulin, who was out of state on business when his brother disappeared, returned home and began an anxious search.

He spoke with Pinellas sheriff's deputies to learn more about what they knew.

He spoke with reporters to get his brother's story out. He made plans to walk the route he thinks his brother took the day he went missing in hopes of spotting something others might have missed.

"His family wants him home for Christmas," said Tom Dulin, 61.

An avid walker, Robert Dulin on Dec. 4 trekked more than 2 miles from his home at the Pine Tree Manor assisted living facility to the Seminole Community Library, which houses Young's office.

He went there to ask about receiving veteran's benefits, Young's staff said. He spent about an hour at the office as they explained he was ineligible for benefits because he had not served in the military.

A surveillance video from the library showed Robert apparently in good spirits when he left just before 11 a.m., Tom Dulin said. After that, no one knows what happened to him.

"He was trying to solve a problem," Tom Dulin said in a written statement. "The problem is money. Robert's only income is his Social Security Disability payments and these all go to pay for his costs at the assisted living facility. Although we give him some occasional spending money, Robert has no surplus income that would enable him to feel that he has some control of his life."

Robert Dulin has been disabled since 1978, when a crash during an auto race left him with brain damage, a disfigured face and a prosthetic right eye. He takes medications to control a host of problems, including seizures, mood disturbances and panic attacks.

His brother wonders if he had a panic attack or seizure walking home.

"That means he might be in (the hospital) as a John Doe," he said. "That's why it's so important to get his picture out there."

But deputies tell him they have found no emergency dispatch or hospital records that indicate that's what happened.

Tom Dulin said not only is his family worried, so are the residents at Pine Tree Manor.

The folks at the Manor probably knew him better than anybody. There, he is the quirky guy who goes out to pick up the newspaper each morning, but never reads it, Tom Dulin said. He knows that others want to read it but cannot easily walk to pick it up, so he brings it inside for them.

"He's a good kid," Tom Dulin said. "He's had more bad cards dealt to him in life than anybody deserves."

Anyone with information about Robert Dulin's whereabouts can call the Sheriff's Office at (727) 582-6200.

Seminole man launches effort to find missing disabled brother 12/11/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, December 11, 2012 10:21pm]
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