Missing Person

The rise at center is an ancient lava vent and a site of past encampment.

I received a missing person / silver alert in my text messages the other day. An older lady diagnosed with dementia wandered off from her home. She'd taken many walks before on the trails in her neighborhood, adjacent to mine across a two lane highway, but didn't return. She was gone overnight. It's winter here.

I found the text when I woke and it gnawed at me until I finally decided I should search an area of pine forest near my house. It was on the wrong side of historic Route 66 but less than a mile away and I couldn't stand the thought of it remaining unsearched, so I message my manager that I would be away from my desk for 20 minutes, put on my boots and went for a walk.

Technically I was trespassing, but I decided to worry about the consequences in the event that they arrived and went anyway.

Abandoned clothing in one of the former homeless camps. It's been there a while.

I didn't find her, but I did find signs of several homeless camps around the handful of ancient lava vents. She was found and returned home by an alert citizen around the same time I was searching the woods. I don't regret taking the time to look. When it comes to ethics, you can't leave behind doubts about how you handled a situation.


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