Toms River religious leader goes missing during European vacation
HOWELL — An international search effort is underway for the president of a local congregation who has not been heard from in weeks while on vacation in Europe.
Joram Heilbronner, 64, of Toms River, went to Athens for a company reunion last month, and checked out of a hotel in Munich where he had stayed after getting back from Greece, according to Rabbi David Amar of Congregation Ahavat Olam.
Amar said he and Heilbronner communicated daily, so to have not heard from him in so long is troubling.
"For me to go one day without talking to him it's like a mystery," he said. "To go a few weeks not talking to him, that's definitely something wrong."
The rabbi said Heilbronner is tech savvy, so even if they did not talk they would exchange text messages or emails on a daily basis.
He said records show Heilbronner checked out of the Hilton Airport Hotel in Munich on Oct. 18. Amar said messages to Heilbronner after that date have not gone through.
Authorities in Germany said they could not do anything to help locate Heilbronner until a missing persons report had been filed, and that could not be done until after he had missed his scheduled flight home, which was to be on Sunday. The day came and went without Heilbronner, which should help the search for him gain some traction.
"If he was on his way home he would have contacted us. If he's somewhere that he is able to communicate, he would have communicated," Amar said.
Chief Mitch Little of the Toms River Police Department said that friends and family reported he had injured his ankle and "has had moments where he had diabetic issues." The chief said several hospitals in Munich were checked, with no answers. Police also checked his home, with no results either.
"Our thoughts are with him, friends and his family for a safe return," Little said.
Amar said anyone with information about Heilbronner's whereabouts can contact him directly at email@example.com.