BRUNSWICK, Maine — The last time they saw each other, Jason Reil made a promise to his father that he didn’t keep.
“I told him, ‘Promise me you’ll take all the medications you’ve got to take for today,’” said Doug Reil of Brunswick of his 33-year-old son. “I told him, ‘Call your doctor and tell him what you’ve been telling me.’ He said, ‘I promise I will.’ That was the last thing he said to me.”
That was Jan. 12 and Jason Reil was suffering from vivid delusions caused by schizophrenia. As he had done in the past, Jason had stopped taking his medications, which led him to believe that there was a government conspiracy that involved charging him too much for his pills.
“He tries these experiments with his medications,” said Doug Reil. “Like he’ll take half of it and say he can slowly cut down on them. Then he’ll start hallucinating and hearing voices again. When he’s doing all his medications, he’s positive and he’s got agendas that are reasonable. The minute he starts experimenting with his medications, he gets in trouble.”
Wherever Jason Reil is, he’s not medicated. On Jan. 17, his family found that he left his prescriptions, along with his car and house keys, his glasses and his cellphone, at his apartment on Federal Street. Jason Reil has not been seen since and no one has used his bank account.
With the help of a New Hampshire-based organization called LostNMissing Inc., his family has posted fliers all over the state and the Brunswick Police Department has searched the area near Reil’s home. So far, nothing.
On Jan. 11, Reil showed up at his father’s house after at least two days without sleep. He said there was something he had to do to fight the conspiracy, but he wouldn’t say what. Unfortunately, his family had grown accustomed to that kind of behavior since Jason’s diagnosis of mental illness about seven years ago, said his father.
“I said, ‘Why don’t you take a nap on my couch?’” said Doug Reil, who lives near Jason’s apartment. “He said, ‘I probably do need some sleep’ and then passed out.”
Jason awoke early the next morning, Jan. 12, and said he had to go for a walk, but not before making those promises to his father. He hasn’t been seen since then. Police have received reports of Reil being in the Portland area, but to date none of those tips has been confirmed. Doug Reil said a local convenience store clerk said she heard Reil talking to a Greyhound bus driver about how much a ticket to California would cost, but Jason never purchased a ticket. However, he has been known to hitchhike.
“Wherever he is, I think he’s confused,” said Doug Reil. “He’s probably just wandering around not knowing what to do. He believes in this conspiracy theory so much that he’s just searching around trying to find answers to the questions in his head. He could be anywhere.”
Jason’s sister Angela Reil of Augusta said she fears that Jason has hurt himself. He has attempted suicide before, she said.
“When he’s not on his medication, he does stupid, dangerous things,” she said. “I hope he’s alive but he’s been missing so long that I just don’t know. I say that just because I know Jay so well and it’s hard to believe that he didn’t do something stupid. He has probably hurt himself.”
Angela Reil said she and her brother have always been close. When he was feeling well, he’d call her every day or two, usually to read her a poem he had written. Jason also was known to stop by his father’s house daily to help out with chores or trips to the store and he frequently volunteered at local food banks and soup kitchens. He never has gone this long without contacting his family.
“If he wanted to contact someone he would be able to, even when he’s off his meds,” said Angela. “We’ve checked soup kitchens, warming centers and meetings that he went to. Nobody knows where he is.”
Diana Solorzano, who is Jason Reil’s mother, pleaded with the public for help in a prepared statement.
“I need to know he is well,” she said. “Every day that goes by, I become more concerned.”
The Reil family, with the help of LostNMissing Inc., is planning a public event at 10 a.m. Saturday in the Scarborough Walmart Supercenter parking lot. Participants will distribute fliers for people to hang in public places.
“We need as many community members as possible to come and pick up missing posters of Jason and help hang them in surrounding communities,” said Cynthia Caron, president and founder of LostNMissing, in a press release.
Reil is described as being around 6 feet tall and weighs 170 pounds. He had brown closely shaved hair and a goatee when he went missing. He has a distinctive dragon tattoo on his left arm as well as scars on both wrists and near his right eyebrow. Because of his illness, Reil is likely to be agitated and may be pacing and mumbling.
Anyone with information about Reil’s whereabouts is asked to call the Brunswick Police Department at 207-725-6620.
Doug Reil said he’s holding out hope for his son’s safe return.
“We’re just waiting for him to call one of us,” he said. “We just don’t understand why he’s been gone so long without contacting us.”