Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn paid an anniversary visit on Thursday, Sept. 5, to some of those who have benefited from the county’s L.A. Found program, which helps locate those who go missing.
The program launched one year ago.
Hahn spent some time in Rancho Palos Verdes with Alex Vargas, 75, a man with Alzheimer’s who is one of 12 people who have been found safely using the program, which provides wristbands that help track the wearers, who are typically among the community’s most vulnerable. The program was set up to address the problem of wandering that is associated with those with dementia, Alzheimer’s and autism.
On Aug. 11, for example, Vargas wandered away from the home he and his wife, Rose, were staying at in Long Beach. The county Sheriff’s Department was able to activate the bracelet and locate him.
Also joining the anniversary gathering were Kirk Moody, whose late wife, Nancy Paulikas, disappeared in 2016, inspiring the creation of the L.A. Found program.
“I heard their heartbreak and frustration with everything,” Hahn said, “from how authorities respond, to how different agencies don’t speak to each other and how quickly someone could get out of Los Angeles County.”
Paulikas, of Manhattan Beach, had early-onset Alzheimer’s and was missing for two years before her remains were found in December 2018 in Sherman Oaks.
“It is difficult, and honestly impossible to be attentive to a person 24/7,” said Rose Vargas, one of Alex Vargas’ family members. “This is and has been our safety net.”
There are currently 358 people enrolled in the L.A. Found Program.