Medford couple reported safe in India

A Medford couple volunteering at an autism clinic in Mumbai, India, called friends in Central Point Wednesday night to say they were safe amid the terrorist attacks raging around the city. Kathy McNeill, of Central Point, said Thursday that Dolores Scheelen, of Medford, called her early Wednesday evening and asked her to contact friends and pass on the news.

"We've been friends for over 30 years," McNeill said. "We're in a women's group together."

McNeill said she and her husband, Bob Harleman, are news junkies, and they grew alarmed as they watched scenes of violence on TV news as gunmen stormed hotels, restaurants and other sites in India's financial capital, killing Westerners and taking hostages.

The Scheelens went to India in late October. Bob, formerly the director of the West Medford Family Center, and Dolores, an autism expert, had found the Ummeed (Hindi for hope) Child Development Center, which works with children with a variety of developmental disabilities on an earlier visit to India to visit a son who works for the U.S. State Department.

Dolores Scheelen told McNeill the Scheelens were living in an eighth-floor apartment in an Indian neighborhood, with a "casual guard," and not in a tourist area, and that they did not feel they were in immediate danger.

— Bill Varble

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