Volunteers join search for Saleh


Jamal A. Saleh

Some volunteers joined authorities yesterday in the search for assistant public defender Jamal A. Saleh, who has been reported missing since Tuesday morning from his residence in Chalan Santa Lourdes, Asteo.

Department of Public Safety acting spokesman Lt. Jason Tarkong said they have not found the 49-year-old Saleh, but that DPS detectives collaborated with the Department of Fire and Emergency Medical Services’ Search and Rescue Unit in the search.

Tarkong said private citizens also participated in the search operation.

Tarkong said the search concentrated on the area where the lawyer was last seen or at the eastern side of the island such as Asteo and Kagman, toward Obyan.

DFEMS spokesman Derek Gersonde said two DFEMS units—search and rescue unit and wildland firefighters—assisted DPS in the search.

Chief public defender Douglas Hartig in an interview yesterday said they hope something turns up or that Saleh is fine and that “there is some sort of mistake or minor health problem or something like that.”

Hartig said Saleh is a good lawyer who has been doing a great job.

He said even their clients stopped by, asking after Saleh, to see if he is okay.

“So we are all concerned and try to be optimistic,” Hartig said.

At the Office of the Public Defender, Hartig said, Saleh handles variety of cases as he can handle anything given to him.

“He’s doing well,” the chief public defender said.

OPD hired Saleh and his girlfriend, assistant public defender Shoshanah Epstein, from New Mexico. The two came together to Saipan in May 2017. Saleh was admitted to practice law in the CNMI courts as an assistant public defender on June 2, 2017.

Epstein reported to work yesterday afternoon, Saipan Tribune learned.

Police officers responded to a complaint about a missing person in Asteo on Tuesday at 11:36am.

Police learned from a witness that her friend, Saleh, is missing.

At 1:30am that same day, Tuesday, Saleh apparently could not sleep and went for a walk.

Since then, the witness texted the lawyer, but there was no reply. He has not returned home and has not reported to work.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a senior reporter of Saipan Tribune. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has covered all news beats in the CNMI. He is a recipient of the CNMI Supreme Court Justice Award. Contact him at ferdie_delatorre@Saipantribune.com

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