I apologize for waiting so long to post this and promise not to make you wait as long for the next part.
After talking with Tom and my sister, I got back in my car and drove my nephew to my house. I left him there in case Mom showed up and then I went to the Sheriff Department.
Can you guess which Deputy was in the front when I showed up? You guessed it! The same one I had a problem with the last time I was in.
Our conversation went pretty much like this:
"May I help you?" he asked.
"I need to report my Mom is missing," I answered.
"Okay, where is she missing from?"
"Here in town?"
"No, in Anaheim, but her..."
"Well this isn't Anaheim. You need to report it there," he interrupted.
"I understand that but..."
"I said you need to go to Anaheim."
"I was told to come and alert you because..."
"Well whoever told you that was wrong. Like I said, Miss, Anaheim is where you should be."
I literally step back from the counter, take a deep breath and then step forward again. I look at the Deputy seated behind the desk who is watching our conversation warily and say, "I would like to talk to you."
Deputy Interruptus Asshole immediately responds, "I already told you..."
"I don't want to speak with you! I want to speak with him!" I interrupt pointing at the other Deputy.
The other Deputy gets up and comes over. The first Deputy backs off a bit but sticks around.
So I tell the new Deputy about my 84-year old Mom with Dementia and a heart problem being confused and wandering off and how the address on her California ID is in the city and how she can't remember if I visited the day before, but she can remember our old house in THIS city.
And he responds, "Well if you reported it with Anaheim and they put her in the National Registry for Missing Persons then we will get an alert."
I answer pleasantly, "I would really like you to check your computer and see if you have her information. Would you do that for me please?"
At this point, he actually goes over to check and finds all the information. He reads it to me to make sure it's correct. (At least Anaheim is doing their job.) Then he prints something out and comes back to the counter.
It's a photo of my Mom at Christmas and he begins writing on the bottom.
"What I'm going to do is copy this and put it in our briefing packet. I'm also going to send an alert out to all the Deputies in the field."
Then he goes on to offer some helpful suggestions when a loved one goes missing:
1. Don't waste time going into other police stations because once an alert is sent out, other stations will receive it.
2. Don't waste time visiting hospitals. If someone is brought in without identification, they will contact the police.
3. Make sure someone is always at the phone number on the missing fliers. If it's a cell phone, make sure it is charged and stationary. It needs to always be in an area with good cell service.
4. If there are homeless areas around, check with the homeless, but do it in pairs. The homeless are good eyes and ears on the street and sometimes take people in.
5. Do not search with vehicles. Yes, you can cover more territory that way, but you can't hear feeble cries for help if you're in a vehicle. Also, it's not good to be driving while preoccupied or upset. You may get in an accident and make the situation worse.
6. Check the bus routes.
7. Check all parks, schools, churches and open spaces in the area.
So I thank the nicer of the two Deputies and head back to my house. I quickly make sure my nephew is set for the long stay, send out an e-mail update to my prayer group and then head back to my Mom's place.
On the way to my Mom's place, I explain what I learned from the Deputy to my sister. When I arrive, my sister and brother-in-law head out to the homeless areas and one brother, sister-in-law and aunt begin searching on foot. My other brother starts putting up missing fliers everywhere. After everyone heads out, I go into her apartment to wait.
Wayne arrives sometime at this point and he gets on the computer to check bus routes and calls the OCTA to see if any of the drivers reported or noticed any elderly confused riders on their route. No luck there. One of my brothers comes back and then pops over to the Toyota dealer next door and watches security tapes with them to see if we can trace which direction she went. When my sister comes back, Wayne and I run out for supplies ~ notepads, pens, tape, highlighters and 100 copies of my Mom's Christmas photo. When we get back to the apartment, I begin tracing the search efforts so far and try to keep people from duplicating the same path.
It's getting later now and the reality of this whole nightmare is beginning to set in.
My 84-year old Mom has been gone since 7:30 in the morning. We saw the direction on security cameras that she took and have been through the neighborhood numerous times. We've gone door to door and talked to countless strangers. No one remembered seeing her. We could not find a single person who saw her.
It was as if my 84-year old Mom and her bright blue walker simply vanished.
to be continued