A woman living in a Lexington homeless shelter while searching for her lost son was reunited with him by phone Monday.
Michael Metz, alive and seemingly well, called his mother and his brother from a rehabilitation center in Northern Kentucky, where he apparently has been staying, the family said Tuesday. Metz called his mother shortly after a Herald-Leader article about June McCarthy's efforts to find her son.
"I guess somebody he was working with up there saw the article and told him to call," said Jonathan Metz, Michael Metz's brother.
Monday, the first time the family had heard from Michael Metz in more than two years, was Metz's 20th birthday.
Several relatives, including Jonathan Metz and June McCarthy, Michael Metz's mother, went to the Herald-Leader office earlier this month to ask for help searching for Metz. The concern about his whereabouts heightened after Feb. 1, when a decomposed body was found in a trash container on Fortune Drive.
Metz's family had feared that the body might be his. The body was later identified as that of Sharon Cave-Howard, 54, who had been reported missing in December. Her son, Mark Cave, 27, is charged with her murder.
That left the family hopeful that Metz was alive, but they were worried that nobody had heard from him.
Monday's phone call put all concerns to rest.
Jonathan Metz said he didn't know why his brother was in rehab, or whether it was related to criminal charges filed against him in 2010. McCarthy said her son was in rehab because of "a personal issue" that the family did not wish to discuss.
Metz spent time in the Fayette County jail in 2010, but he was released that summer. Metz had spoken with a friend after his release, but he had not spoken with his family since 2009, while he was in foster care. He apparently had no idea that his family had been looking for him, relatives said.
McCarthy said her son decided to stay in Lexington in foster care rather than move with McCarthy back to Florida. She said she moved to Florida when he was 17 to have an operation and to stay with family while she recovered.
McCarthy came back to Lexington in November to look for her son, she said. She and Michael's brothers, Jonathan and Jason, and his sister-in-law, Tiffany, stayed at the Salvation Army and The Hope Center homeless shelters because a combination of medical bills and an extensive search for her son burned through her savings, she said.
When Michael Metz can be released from rehab, he probably will move back to Florida with his mother, Jonathan Metz said. The family is saving money so they can go visit Michael next month.
Jonathan Metz said it was good to finally hear his brother's voice — and to know that he was in good spirits.
"He seemed fine," Jonathan Metz said. "He sounded different, but it was him. It was little Mikey."