HOUSTON, Texas—Just weeks ago, Terrell Bell began working as a security guard for NRG Park, the event complex that was home to Friday’s Astroworld Festival, where eight people were killed and scores injured as a 50,000-strong crowd began rushing towards the stage, crushing concertgoers.
Now, the 46-year-old man is missing and his family is worried sick.
On Saturday afternoon, his sister, who did not want to be named, was at a victims’ reunification space at a nearby hotel in Houston. She was hoping to find any information from police officers about his whereabouts, but so far her efforts haven’t turned up anything.
In the hours after Friday’s festival turned deadly, families scrambled to locate loved ones. On social media, they said they hadn’t heard from brothers, cousins and daughters. “I’m freaking out,” one person posted. Another said their missing cousin was autistic and may have been frightened by the crowd.
At least 23 people were hospitalized and 300 were treated by on-site medics, police said. Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said the eight victims’ ages ranged from 14 to 27.
By Saturday afternoon, Turner said no one was still missing however the police clarified that that included ticket holders only, not staff.
“Last time I talked to him was 8 o’clock last night. He said he was clocking out, but he never made it home,” Terrell Bell’s sister told The Daily Beast on Saturday. “I’m scared to death. He’s never missing. He’s always at home, work or church—that’s it.”
Bell has not answered his phone and, as of Saturday afternoon, there was no news of him, his condition or where he might be.
His sister said the entire family, including her children as well as Bell’s grandchildren, are all very upset. What makes the situation particularly worrisome is that Bell suffers from an illness that hinders his ability to walk for a long time.
“He’s handicapped,” she said.
After speaking with police officers at the reunification scene, the woman said they told her they’ve taken calls from thousands of people like her who are looking for missing family members who were at the concert.
“There’s more than 300 hurt,” she said, referring to the number of festival attendees treated at an on-site hospital throughout the day on Friday.
Others expressed their relief after family members made it home alive. Mari Cella’s son and daughter, along with her daughter’s boyfriend, all got swept up in the roiling crowd on Friday, and became separated from one another at one point. Cella, 54, said she was “up all night, texting back and forth” with her daughter as the deadly chaos unfolded.
“She said it was chaotic, not enough security, the rails were very high and people couldn’t back up because there were just so many rails,” Cella told The Daily Beast. “She said she couldn’t breathe. She said that God saved her, because someone was finally able to push her over the rail.”
Cella said her daughter, Brea, has been to all three Astroworld festivals, but that “this one was different.”
“It only got worse as soon as Travis started singing,” she said.
Tristan Birl, a deputy sheriff, told The New York Times he came by the reunification center to check on his 18-year-old cousin, who had traveled from Dallas for her first big trip on her own. He was relieved to find out that she made it out safe and was with her friends.