Calif. Man With Dementia Vanishes After Brother's Arrest - NBC Bay Area

Calif. Man With Dementia Vanishes After Brother's Arrest

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    Calif. Man With Dementia Vanishes After Brother's Arrest
    Courtesy of family
    Donald James says officers assured him they would drive his brother Douglas and his dog Teddy Bear to their home after getting arrested, but CHP dropped the man with dementia at a gas station instead. Douglas has been missing since Nov. 5, 2019.

    The California Highway Patrol came under scrutiny Thursday after a man with dementia went missing Nov. 5 and hasn't been seen since.

    The family of Douglas James has been making posters, hoping someone will recognize him and help bring him home. 

    South Central Los Angeles resident Donald James was driving with his brother Douglas and his dog Teddy Bear on Nov. 5 when his car was pulled over by CHP officers, according to the family's lawyer.

    Douglas is a 62-year-old man with severe dementia, the family's attorney said.

    Donald was arrested on suspicion of misdemeanor DUI after a field sobriety test showed his blood alcohol level was 0.08, attorney Mark Ravis said.

    Donald said he told officers that Douglas has dementia, and family cares for him, so Douglas would not be able to make it to the home to the 8200 block of Main Street by himself.

    Ravis and Donald claimed officers assured Donald they would drive Douglas and Teddy Bear to their home.

    "I said, 'I don’t care what you do with me but please take my brother home. He won’t know where to go,'" Donald said. "I explained very clearly my brother has Alzheimer's and dementia and asked to please take him home and they said they would and they didn’t," Donald said.

    After Donald was taken to the Torrance Highway Patrol station where he was detained for 10 minutes and given a ticket, officers drove him home, Ravis said.

    Donald said he arrived home to find the apartment empty, and his brother and dog were nowhere to be found.

    When Donald called CHP, officers said his brother and dog were dropped off at an Arco gas station on 227th Street in Torrance, about 12 miles from Douglas' home.

    "To just drop him off anywhere, I’m outraged at that. It’s no respect," Douglas' son Donte said.

    Five days later, Teddy Bear was found in Wilmington by a woman and returned to Donald.

    His brother had been missing since Nov. 5, Ravis and the family said. 

    "I don't know if he's eaten -- if he's clothed properly for the weather. It's been cold and raining so I'm worried about his health," Donte said. "He can give his name, but phone number, no. It's hard for him to work the phone he has."

    A CHP spokesperson said Douglas was dropped off in a safe, public place as is their policy, but in light of his disappearance, the case is under review.

    "If they know my dad has dementia, take him down to the station, let him call someone. If he had called me I would’ve rushed down there. I feel that’s the right thing to do if you know he can’t get home on his own," Donte said.

    As of Thursday, Douglas has been missing for 16 days. 

    "The family has been calling hospitals and the morgue every day to see if there’s any sign of him," Ravis said.