Alzheimer's patient home safe thanks to good samaritan

April 5, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
A family on the Peninsula is celebrating the fact that their beloved patriarch is home safe. He had a rough journey, but made it home thanks to a good samaritan who noticed he was in trouble and stopped to help.

Douglas Galdamez was just about to close up around 10:15 p.m. Sunday night, when he saw an elderly man walking back and forth out on the sidewalk in the rain.

"It seems like he was lost and I went to ask him if he was lost," said Galdamez.

About 11 hours earlier, the East Palo Alto family had called police to report a missing 81-year-old Alzheimer's patient who often walks by himself to the wetlands down the street and always comes home.

They think he left the house between 3 a.m. and 5 a.m. They decided to call police around 11:30 a.m. when he still wasn't home. Officers immediately got aggressive.

"Unfortunately, police officers think the worst right off the bat and prepare for such," said East Palo Alto Sgt. Jeff Liu.

It wasn't until after midnight that they got the call that someone had dropped Jose Mojica off at the Menlo Park Police Department. He had walked the heels right off of his shoes, but he was safe.

"I am happy, just happy, my Easter was today," said Mojica's granddaughter Sylvia Palatt.

"Didn't think there could be any better news, but then I found out there was a good samaritan that picked him up, took care of him," said Liu.

"He seemed like kind of a friendly guy. I started talking to him, but it was hard because he was shaking because he was very cold," said Galdamez.

Galdamez says Mojica only had a passport on him, which didn't have an address. Galdamez gave him a change of clothes and then drove around with him trying to find his house.

"I thought it could be me or it could be somebody else in my family," said Galdamez.

"He's an angel and I believe the Lord always puts someone in their path, God bless him, and I'm so thankful for that," said Palatt.

Mojica doesn't remember getting lost, he only remembers going out for a walk.

His relatives are somewhat comforted by this, but also very saddened about his Alzheimer's and what it has done to their loved one.


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