Missing Man With Alzheimer's Found Dead, Two Days After Being Released From Jail
A 71-year-old man with Alzheimer's who had been missing since Friday morning was found dead in a downtown L.A. maintenance yard on Monday, days after being released from jail.
ABC-7 reports that Gerry Sakamoto left his home in Pasadena in the middle of the night after pretending to take his Alzheimer's medication, and was arrested by California Highway Patrol officers around 3 a.m. under suspicion of driving under the influence following a crash on the freeway in the San Gabriel Valley.
According to City News Service, Sakamoto was booked in downtown L.A. at 8 a.m. Friday, and was released at 7:36 p.m. that night—with no money, phone, "or even a clear understanding of where he was," as ABC-7 put it. He wasn't seen until his body was found this afternoon. Pasadena police said there are no obvious signs of foul play, and that an autopsy is pending.
His release allegedly happened after his family found out he was at the jail, and told authorities of his medical condition. So why a 71-year-old man with Alzheimer's was released without any resources remains to be seen.
A sheriff's statement said, "All persons being released from our custody are offered the opportunity to stay in custody up to 16 hours, or until daylight hours, to arrange transportation or to contact service providers," but that Sakamoto apparently declined these accommodations. "Our records indicate that Mr. Sakamoto was not identified as requiring special needs or assistance during his time at IRC," the statement continued.
Sakamoto's family member Mindy Brink told ABC-7 that she doesn't believe he was drunk in the first place, but that "the reason that he had such impaired judgement is because he hadn't had his medication."
In an earlier report from ABC-7, Sakamota's wife Jane said that she was ignored by the operator at the county jail when she called, and told to "call back in six to eight hours."
"It's not like we forgot him there," she said. "We were listening to their instructions and because of that, you know, they just—without care—let him go."
In 2009, 24-year-old Mitrice Richardson went missing after she was released from the remote Lost Hills sheriff's station in Agora. She was found dead in a canyon in the Santa Monica Mountains a year later. Last year, the state Attorney General's office opened up a criminal investigation into the sheriff's department's handling of the case.