SOUTH SIDE – Family members are desperately trying to find a missing man from the South Side.

Paul Kochu is a nurse who works for Allegheny General Hospital. He has been missing for more than a month.

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“The family is still taking it very hard, emotions are running very high,” says Kraig McLaughlin, Kochu’s cousin.

On Thursday, volunteers gathered on the South Side near the Giant Eagle to help search for Kochu.

With a little help from the community, they were able to search in the Monongahela River for the first time.

“This week, we actually found a boat owner from the clipper fleet [who] said that he would donate a boat to us to help search for Paul,” says McLaughlin.

Volunteers and rescue workers searched the river between the Birmingham Bridge and the Hot Metal Bridge Thursday morning using the boat and some kayaks. They also used long poles given to them by a local fire department to help search through the deep water.

“We’re kind of looking right near the Giant Eagle, right off the pier that in case maybe he slipped or if anything happened, maybe we can look right in that area to search about 10-20 feet out,” says McLaughlin.

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Kochu was last seen on Dec. 16. Surveillance video shows him walking on Wharton Street near his apartment on the South Side, heading towards the 10th Street Bridge. But after that, he disappeared.

His family, who is from out of town, is offering a $20,000 reward for information that may help find him.

“I’d also like to thank the people of Pittsburgh,” says McLaughlin. “They’ve been very cordial and kind to my family and myself as well during this difficult time.”

Volunteers and rescue workers say, they’re happy to help.

Brittany Lashen, who showed up to help look for Kochu before her shift at work started, says, “I’m an only child. I have a step-brother, but he’s six. But, if he was lost, I’d be out here day and night searching for him and helping.”

Kochu’s family says, they will not give up hope that he’ll be found alive.

“Nothing can be unturned if there’s something out there,” says McLaughlin.

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David Highfield