Search 70 Year Old Alzheimer

April 23, 2013
Riverside-Corona Area

Written by Craig Wills

At 4:48 am on the morning of April 23, RMRU Team Members received a call out for a missing 70 year old subject who suffered from Alzheimer’s. The text read: “Meet at 8 AM”. After calling the rescue line for additional info, I realized that the coordinates given were in a residential neighborhood in near the La Sierra region of Riverside. I confirmed my availability and put my head back on the pillow for a little more shut eye.

While driving in from Idyllwild, I began to recognize the hilly areas near Lake Matthews in the Riverside County region. I connected with Roger May while driving in on the winding streets. At last, we found the Sheriff’s Mobile Command Center vehicle. Gwenda had driven the RMRU truck and had already signed in and was beginning to set up the laptop for our tracking use. She gave us a short description of the subject and what she had learned. The majority of this housing track was high up in the rolling hills.

Our Team had been requested due to the canyons and wild land areas surrounding the homes. Roger and I initially teamed up with one of the SERT Deputies and surveyed the neighborhood and fire road access points. After hiking up to some high points which gave us visual access to Lake Matthews and a few County roads, we headed back to base and formulated a starting point on Google maps with Gwenda. Paul Caraher joined us later in the morning and together, the three of us began a structured search of the common green belt areas, parks and canyon ravines. This urban interface eventually took us down through the brushy areas to commercial buildings and water culverts that we checked.

During our lunch break, Paul spent time on the phone with Garmin trying to figure out why the tracks from our GPS units would not load properly on the Sheriff’s laptop. Eventually it was realized that the software had not been loaded as this Command Center vehicle was a second one in service and normally used by the Coroner’s Office.

We called it a day at approximately 4:30. While stowing our packs and signing out, the Sgt. on scene shared with us that a Deputy had just picked up someone in the Perris area who was trying to get into automobiles in a parking lot. They took a picture and sent it to us via cell phone. The Sheriff’s Office personnel were able to make a positive I.D. and it turned out it was our missing subject. We were out heading home at around 5 PM. The subject stated that he had no idea how he had ended up so far away. Thankfully he was alright after being missing for almost two days.

RMRU team members present: Paul Caraher, Roger May, Craig Wills, and Gwenda Yates.