As soon as a person or child is reported missing, the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Department acts immediately. Detectives enter the individual’s name into the Missing Person database along with any other information. A San Mateo County alert is sent out to those subscribed to the email or text alerts.
No matter who the person is—child, teenager, or adult—, the department is required to act, said Detective Sergeant Jim Tanner of the Sheriff’s Department.
So when Margaret Woodman, 67, who suffers from Alzheimer’s, was reported missing after a doctor’s appointment on Tuesday, detectives entered her name into the database, for the third time in a month. After a nine-hour search, she was found at the Menlo Park Police Department. Her name was subsequently removed from the database.
“It’s paramount when/if missing persons return home, that their families tell us so we can remove their name from the [Missing and Unidentified Persons] system,” said Sheriff’s Deputy Rebecca Rosenblatt.
Family members also reported Woodman missing two other times, one on Jan. 24 and a second time on Feb. 9, both of which she was found on the same day.
The second time, deputies went to her family's home for a follow-up the next morning when they learned from her family she had been found in the Stanford area during the night," Rosenblatt said.
“If a person is missing several times in that time frame, we will get other agencies involved,” Tanner said.
If a child is repeatedly missing, sheriff’s detectives will involve Child Protective Services or Juvenile Probation, Tanner said. Similarly, Adult Protective Services may be called if the situation is dire.
“We want to get them the appropriate care provider they need,” Tanner said.
The county has a specific website for Aging and Adult Services. As many Patch readers mentioned in the comments section, caregiving is an enormous and difficult task. There is a website for care for caregivers as well.
So tell us in the comments section below: How do you care for an aging family member with a debilitating illness?