62-Year-Old Man Suffering From Dementia Found After Being Left By CHP Officers At A Gas Station
Mariana Dale, Brianna Flores and Jessica Ogilvie contributed to this report.
Douglas James, 62, of South Los Angeles will soon be reunited with his family after California Highway Patrol officers left him at a Torrance gas station a month and a half ago.
James, who has dementia, was a passenger in his brother Donald James' car on Nov. 5 when Donald was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence.
"I explained to [the officers] very clearly that my brother had Alzheimer's and dementia, and I said to please take him home, and they said they would. And they didn't," Donald James said at a news conference several weeks after his brother went missing, according to our media partner NBC4.
The gas station where CHP officers left Douglas James was more than 12 miles from his home.
At a press conference Friday, two of James' sons described their ordeal since their father went missing.
"It's been indescribable," said Antquon James. "[We would] drive around ourselves all night, all morning, trying to find him - on our days off work, when we got off work... for this to happen at the hands of the people that are there to help us and support us, it's been unimaginable."
Donte added that the recent cold snap gave him even more to worry about.
"I was very concerned about his health," he said. "How long was he outside? It's been really cold these past few days in the morning, and it's been raining, so I was just really just worried."
James was discovered two days ago by police officers in Pasadena, where he was sleeping in a pediatric dental office. The officers arrested him on charges of vagrancy - which they later dropped - before realizing who he was.
"It's fortunate for us that we ran him for all types of any wants or warrants, and so it came up with a missing person as well," said Lt. Sean Dawkins of the Pasadena Police Department.
Prior to being discovered, James had been riding busses around the city "looking for a familiar face" in an attempt to find his way home or to get help, said Mark Ravis, the family's lawer, at Friday's press conference.
Ravis added that he plans to file a state tort claim, which may be followed by a lawsuit.
"In no case should police just release people who are suffering with mental illness or who are sick and just dump them on the street," he said. "That is totally unacceptable. That's what happened here... Our law enforcement agencies need to be more sensitive and more compassionate. We can't have them acting this way towards people who are suffering."
4:49 p.m.: This article was updated with information from Friday's press conference.
This article was originally published at 12 p.m.