Author Topic: John F. Ward | 68 | Chatsworth, CA | Missing August 30, 1994  (Read 1554 times)

Concerned

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John F. Ward | 68 | Chatsworth, CA | Missing August 30, 1994
« on: September 18, 2017, 11:27:14 PM »
There is a picture of Mr. Ward on the site with the link, below.

John F. Ward
Missing since August 30, 1994 from Chatsworth, Los Angeles County, California.
Classification: Missing
 
Vital Statistics
?   Date Of Birth: June 15, 1926
?   Age at Time of Disappearance: 68 years old
?   Height and Weight at Time of Disappearance: 6'0"; 210 lbs.
?   Distinguishing Characteristics: White male. White hair; brown eyes.
?   Dentals: X-rays are available.
?   Clothing: He wore an aqua sweatshirt, khaki shorts, maroon socks, walking shoes, and a medic alert bracelet.
 
Circumstances of Disappearance
Ward was last seen August 30, 1994 in Chatsworth, CA.
Ward, an avid hiker, set out on foot from his Chatsworth home for a sporting goods store a couple of miles away. John, who had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease five years earlier, apparently forgot his way home.
He had disappeared twice before. Once, authorities found him near Magic Mountain, a hike of more than 20 miles.
A day or two after John's disappearance, an equestrian exchanged greetings with a man lying near a log in Brown's Canyon, in those same foothills he often hiked. More than four hours later, she was surprised to see the man lying on another log nearby. Shown a photo of John Ward by Los Angeles police, the woman said she was almost certain that was the man she'd seen in the hills. But searches over the next two days turned up nothing.
 
Investigators
If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
Los Angeles Police Department
213-485-5381
Agency Case Number: 9417-28519
NCIC Number: M-763336578
Please refer to this number when contacting any agency with information regarding this case.
Source Information:
California Department of Justice
Los Angeles Times

https://oag.ca.gov/missing/person/john-ward

State of California, Attorney General https://oag.ca.gov/missing/person/john-ward
Los Angeles Missing Person Site, http://dojapp.doj.ca.gov/missing/detail.asp?FCN=2749424200635
Portchlight USA, http://z13.invisionfree.com/PorchlightUSA/index.php?showtopic=6441&st=0&
The Charley Project, http://www.charleyproject.org/cases/w/ward_john.html
The Doe Network, http://www.doenetwork.org/cases/1047dmca.html


« Last Edit: November 24, 2017, 10:29:28 AM by Concerned »

Concerned

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Re: John F. Ward | 68 | Chatsworth, CA | Missing August 30, 1994
« Reply #1 on: September 18, 2017, 11:35:44 PM »
It would have been so frustrating to have lost your loved one. Someone sees him on a trail, calls police. And the message stays on the phone answering machine while the detective vacations. By the time he got back, Mr. Ward was no longer found where last seen. I always felt this case could be solved by now. He disappeared a long time ago, but with today's technology, I've often wondered if they ran his case through the new system, NAMUS, and more just to see whether he had been found elsewhere. He was an avid walker. With the onset of Alzheimer's it says he once walked 20 miles away. So, he could have been found a ways away from home base.


Painful Waiting to Learn Loved One's Fate
January 21, 1996|SCOTT HARRIS

When people talk with Simone Ward about her husband, John, the choice of verbs often creates hesitation. Simone understands. Either present tense or past is OK, she says, since she isn't sure herself.

John Ward is, or was, a sturdy man who stands, or stood, 6 feet tall. He has, or had, a shock of white hair that is, or was, so striking that Simone and her sons do a double-take whenever they spot such locks.

"It doesn't matter if the guy's 5 feet tall," says Dave Ward, 34. "I have to see the face."

Nearly 17 months have passed since John F. Ward, an avid hiker, set out on foot from his Chatsworth home for a sporting goods store a couple of miles away. John, who had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease five years earlier, apparently forgot his way home.

Early on, they thought John would turn up. He had disappeared twice before. Once, authorities found him near Magic Mountain, a hike of more than 20 miles. Another time, Dave found him walking late one night on De Soto Avenue, down from the foothills of the Santa Susana Mountains.
 
Five and a half hours after John left for the sporting goods store, Simone reported him missing. In the next few days, many people paid attention. TV news stations did reports and newspapers ran stories. The Wards and their friends put 2,000 fliers on telephone polls and in store windows. Dozens of friends helped Dave and his brother, Greg, search the hills. When Simone chartered a helicopter to help with the search, the owner tore up her $700 check.

And early on, there was one glimmer of hope that, mishandled by the Los Angeles police, became the source of abiding anger.

A day or two after John's disappearance, an equestrian exchanged greetings with a man lying near a log in Brown's Canyon, in those same foothills he often hiked. More than four hours later, she was surprised to see the man lying on another log nearby.

Later, she heard about the missing man. Her report was promptly referred to the missing-persons unit of the Los Angeles Police Department, but six days passed before a detective contacted the woman, only after he'd returned from vacation and found a note on his desk. "They really dropped the ball," Dave says.

Shown a photo of John Ward by Los Angeles police, the woman said she was almost certain that was the man she'd seen in the hills. But searches over the next two days turned up nothing.

Now months have passed. Sitting with Dave at the dining room table, Simone Ward reflects on the fact that she doesn't know whether she's a wife or a widow.

She met John in high school back in Massachusetts. Love blossomed later. John, she says, was a highly intelligent man who had a career as a civilian employee with the Air Force. Later, it was difficult to witness the effect of Alzheimer's, but John loved to go out for his walks. She and her sons had rejected notions of placing him in a board and care facility. Simone knew it was a risk to let him leave the house. She was always careful to make sure he carried a wallet filled with identification, just in case.

"It's a tough call to make because he loved to walk," Dave said. "How could you take that away from him? Do you chain him to the couch and strip him of all his dignity?"
As time passed, Simone grew more desperate. On two occasions, she consulted psychics. "This may sound crazy, but at time like that, you do crazy things."
 
The first suggested he might be in the San Bernardino area, so Simone sent fliers to authorities there. The second suggested that he was no longer alive and was "near water."
Simone also contacted the Salvation Army, which has a missing-persons service. Workers there told her that one man was discovered alive five years after he was reported missing.

And one day, a friend pointed out a grim story in the newspaper. The torso of a man had been found in the Angeles National Forest, the head and hands missing. Simone drove to the county coroner's office and provided the information, wondering whether her husband had turned up as a John Doe.

There was no match. Since that early possible sighting, there has been no trace. If he'd been robbed, it would seem that at least his credit card or Social Security card would turn up somewhere. But nothing.

They wonder about the possibilities. Did he fall and die in terrain so remote that his remains haven't been found? Dave wonders whether his father is an anonymous soul in some sort of asylum. Is he living on the streets somewhere, unable to remember his own name?

The image is difficult for Simone.

"He wouldn't know enough to look for food in a trash bin," she says, voice cracking, eyes welling with tears. "We have so much--food, shelter, clothing. And it's all due to him. . . . I don't want him to die, but at least he wouldn't be hurting. . . . And if he's dead, he deserves a decent burial."

Her older son, Greg, remains optimistic that his father is alive. Greg, she says, is having a difficult time accepting the possibility that he may not be. Simone and Dave are more pessimistic. They are convinced that coping with John's disappearance has been more difficult than the prospect of coping with his death.
"Everybody dies," Dave says. "At least we'd know."

If they knew, they wouldn't have such an awkward time talking to old friends who call out of the blue and ask for John, or answering Christmas cards that express the hope that everybody's well.

And if they knew, they wouldn't be so startled by a shock of white hair.

Scott Harris' column appears Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. Readers may write to Harris at the Times Valley Edition, 20000 Prairie St., Chatsworth, CA 91311. Please include a phone number.


http://articles.latimes.com/1996-01-21/local/me-27150_1_john-ward
« Last Edit: October 16, 2017, 01:58:15 AM by Concerned »

Sap1

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Re: John F. Ward | 68 | Chatsworth, CA | Missing August 30, 1994
« Reply #2 on: September 19, 2017, 11:07:29 AM »
I read some articles, wondering if they used sniffer dogs on this search way back then but didn't find anything. I've had some experience with missing seniors with Alzheimers diagnosis in the past and there have been a few who crawled into small spaces after becoming delirious and confused. Small spaces must be a comfort to these people in a time where nothing is as it seems and alien to them.
Oddly enough one senior that left her care home was found hugging a standing tree and just a mere few hundred feet was a black bear spotted. SAR used helicopters and were able to let the police/EMTS know where she was at.
Another elderly gentleman liked small spaces like cupboards and closets.

Those Cali trees are humongous in those parks and if Mr. Ward happened to find one that had rotted out and still standing or even laying down he could have climbed in for safety. He may have become delirious and more confused prior to this last walk he took. Anything can spur delirium ... even a lot of walking and not drinking enough ... bladder infection, etc. Seniors are so much more at risk.
 
What a beautiful looking man he was. The love and kindness just emanates from his face. So very sad for his loved ones to not have him.
Odd that they had to wait for the detective to return from vacation to begin the search. Are there not more police in the area?!

Concerned

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Re: John F. Ward | 68 | Chatsworth, CA | Missing August 30, 1994
« Reply #3 on: September 19, 2017, 07:18:22 PM »
SAP, you make a good point. I would have never thought of that. I wish they would have had infrared technologies and drones back then. He does look like a very nice gentleman, and kind, as you say. I've tried through the years to find a match for him. It wouldn't seem like it would be that difficult. He liked to walk, but my senses say he would have stayed on the trail - perhaps a person of habit. In the news article his wife said he would not have known to feed himself...so I would guess he wouldn't know to drink, either. It gets hot in California in August. So sad.

My bigger fear, but perhaps hope, is that he would have been found and cared for in a hospital, then nursing home setting. Back then there weren't networks and database searches. They didn't have him on NAMUS, the national registry in the states for missing and unidentified people in the U.S. Can you believe they I sent them a note last night and they entered him into the system by today and now maybe he has a chance of being cross referenced. I don't know how it works and whether anyone new is cross referenced automatically. Or, if only his bare credentials are in the system and not his dental until the department that owns his case can make sure it is all in the system. But, the good thing is that his dental information is available. Hopefully, his DNA too. Then I wonder what it would take to place a search in that database. I'm so appreciative that that technology exists nowadays and its not just up too old file matches when and if someone is interested and miraculously finds the match.

Regarding the officer and vacation, I wonder if it was as simple as the message was left on his phone and the caller didn't know he/she was on vacation. At any rate, today, guilt and blame have no home. I think, looking at his sweet picture, that it feels like he should be found so he can rest in peace. Let the family stop wondering. I recall the peace that came over me when my family was found. I can't imagine how life would have been if I was looking for 23 years, not just 5. I would really like to see this case solved.

I recall a couple years ago, I searched endlessly one week trying to look up all the people that were found after Mr. Ward had gone missing. Taking note of every detail disclosed, height, weight, clothes (although that could have changed), race, nationality. I found a handful of cases that could have been. But, unfortunately, Mr. Ward wasn't in NAMUS and I couldn't find a way to get two groups to look at the case. I'm going to try to search NAMUS more to find those matches again and see if they can check. It's worth a try.

The hope is that he was never in NAMUS. Maybe this can make a difference now. Hope.
« Last Edit: October 16, 2017, 02:03:59 AM by Concerned »

Sap1

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Re: John F. Ward | 68 | Chatsworth, CA | Missing August 30, 1994
« Reply #4 on: September 19, 2017, 07:43:19 PM »
Per Wikipedia:
Quote
Chatsworth is a neighborhood in the northwestern San Fernando Valley region of Los Angeles, California. The area was home to Native Americans, some of whom left caves containing rock art. Wikipedia

Beautiful but dangerous area for a confused person to get lost in.

Concerned:

Quote
Can you believe they I sent them a note last night and they entered him into the system by today and now maybe he has a chance of being cross referenced.

That is fantastic. Perhaps he does have a chance now.

Unfortunately those with dementia can become quite combative with unfamiliar people trying to help them when they are in delirium. Yet most people would not just leave someone like that alone (normally) and would summon help. Mr. Ward may have been in the transition where he was still making sense, even if he was seen laying on a log by a passer by. He could still have been alert enough to make an excuse ... sore back or just resting, sounding believable enough.

Concerned

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Re: John F. Ward | 68 | Chatsworth, CA | Missing August 30, 1994
« Reply #5 on: October 01, 2017, 01:32:01 PM »
John F. Ward's NAMUS MP number is 39882, visit https://www.findthemissing.org/en/cases/39882/0/.

Possibilities:

- Coroner Case 02-04408, Male Cauasian, Date of Death approx. 1998-2000. San Jose Santa Clara County 408-793-1900. John Doe 02-04408 Santa Clara, CA - https://www.sccgov.org/sites/coroner/Unidentified%20Bodies/Pages/John-Doe-02-04408.aspx and https://www.sccgov.org/sites/coroner/Unidentified%20Bodies/Documents/IDENTIFICATION-SOUGHT-FLYER.pdf

- NAMUS 2497. Case Number 00-1587. Date Found March 6, 2000. Loma Linda, CA.  John Doe 00-1587 San Bernardino County Sheriff Department (Robert Hunter Coroner Case Manager 909-387-2978) #09-00 NAMUS Up# 2497 was found under bushes east of the intersection of Barton Road and East of Anderson Avenue on March 6, 2000. He was a well-known transient living in Loma Linda. He had being staying in this area between 6 and 8 years and had told locals and law enforcement that his name, however follow-up investigation located this person alive. John Doe was found dead by natural causes; he had been dead approximately one month when found. He was described as White, between 60 and 80 years of age, and stood about 5'9"?. He was estimated to have weighed about 180 lbs. His hair and beard were gray. Eye color unknown. He had a surgically implanted metal pin in his left proximal femur.. Healed fractured pelvis bone, left. Orthopedic plate: HOWMEDICA "Alta Side Plate - 135 degrees" (catalog #5231-3-135-135, Lot #B90DG, manufactured between October 1994 and February 1995. Fingerprint information is available. https://www.identifyus.org/en/cases/2497 [92 miles from Chatsworth] Visit https://www.identifyus.org/en/cases/2497

- NAMUS 7954, Case 05-7954, San Bernardino, Date Found November 5, 2005, White Male, 44 to 78. White male adult found by a hunter on a mountain side (Robert Hunter Coroner Case Manager 909-387-2978) . The body was severely decomposed, found wrapped in a blanket. He was estimated to be between 44-78 years of age, stand 67"-74", with light brown hair around the sides (balding), possible reddish brown beard. Identity may only be established with dental X-rays and DNA. Light brown hair balding, redish brown facial hair with gray. Unknown eye color. Fingerprint, dental and DNA information available. Found wrapped in comforter under bush. Clad only in what appeared to be thin pajama bottoms (no shirt, underwear, shoes, or socks). [121 miles from Chatsworth, hair color doesn't seem to match.] Visit https://www.identifyus.org/en/cases/1003

- NAMUS Up #7521, Case No. #2008-04945. Los Angeles. Date Found, July 11, 2008, male White 55 to 78. (Daniel Machian 323-343-0754 LA Coroners Office, Daniel Machian). Adult pre 80, white, male, estimated 71 inches tall. Probable year of death 2007 to 2008. Estimated postmortem interval 24 months. Partially skeletonized/mummified, human remains found in a trash-filled tent in an empty lot behind a business located at 6000 block of Jefferson Blvd., Culver City, Los Angeles County, California, 90232. Hair color and eye color unknown. Found wearing white shirt, brown shorts, red underwear. Dental and DNA on file. Fingerprint not available. Visit https://www.identifyus.org/en/cases/7521

- NAMUS Up #15124, Case No. 10-185, Date found November 5, 2010, Imperial County. Male, white 50 to 75. (Rodolfo Barron 442-265-2105 Case manager Imperial County Coroner Office) Decedent was found in desert mountains north of Winterhaven & Bard, California, near Ferguson Lake and Senator's Wash camping area. Estimated age 71. Appears he was camping. Curly hair, full beard, unknown eye color. Gray hair or partially gray hair. Healed left temporoparietal craniotomy with .25 inch anterior burr hole. Found with two green military type duffle bags with clothing items. Fingerprint not available, dental is available. DNA not available. Visit https://www.identifyus.org/en/cases/15124

- NAMUS Up#13615. Case 13-01548  San Diego, Date Found July 4, 2013. Male, white 60 to 70. (San Diego County Medical Examiner Jennifer Wright, 858-694-2905). The decedent was an unidentified 60-70 year old Caucasian male who appeared to be living a transient lifestyle. On the evening of 07/04/13, two kids were playing soccer ball at the park when the ball was accidentally kicked over the fence into an open area. They retrieved the ball and noticed someone lying on the ground at the bottom of the embankment. They thought he was intoxicated and left the area. On the afternoon of 07/05/13, the two kids went back to the park to play. They checked the area where they had saw the person on the ground and he was still there and there was a foul odor coming from the area. They ran home and told their parents to call 911. Police responded to the location along with fire personnel. Upon arrival, paramedics confirmed the death due to decomposition. He was about 72" tall. Gray hair, unknown eye color. Fingerprint is available. Found with 1-pair white socks, 1-pair black socks, 1-blue jean shorts, 1-camo hat, 1-gray sweatpants, 1-white s/s tshirt. 1-black s/s tshirt.1-pair black shoes. 1-blue bag w/ misc. items. Dental is available. DNA available. 72 inches tall, 128 lbs. [157 miles from Chatsworth, found date is nearly 19 years after missing.] Visit https://www.identifyus.org/en/cases/13615

- NAMUS Case 2535. Case number 94-5036, Date Found September 10, 1994, San Bernardino, CA. John Doe #40-94 NE/C Case Number 94-5036. San Bernardino County Sheriff Coroner Div Case Manager Robert Hunter 909-387-2978 Probable year of death 1994, was estimated to be dead approximate 2 weeks at time found on September 10, 1994. 67 inches tall. Found at 34578 Lancelet, San Bernadino County. He was found decomposed in a mobile home in Lucerne Valley. The property caretaker (Jack Knight) was contacted and stated that the man staying at the location was a "Bill Goldke" and that he was about 55 years of age. Knight subsequently changed his contact information and would not cooperate with the investigation. Brown Corduroy Shorts. Brown-gray medium length hair. Unknown eye color. Identity may only be established by dental X-rays or DNA (refer to CODIS #BK-08-001109). [124 miles from Chatsworth, color of hair may be off.] Visit https://www.identifyus.org/en/cases/2535

- NAMUS Case 3592, Case Number 9506891 Male, white, 45 to 65. Date Found 09/01/1995. Los Angeles, CA - Los Angeles County Coroners Office, Daniel Machian 323-343-0512. On 9/1/1995 @ 1540 hours the decedent was found by police after they had been called regarding a foul odor coming from the area. Decedent found under some bushes off the side of the road @ La Cienega & Manchester Blvd. in Inglewood, CA. 71 inches tall, 98 lbs. Gray or partial gray hair. Unknown eye color. Probable year of death 1995. Clothes at time found: DRK BLU-LRG,SWEATSHIRT-LT BLU-LRG,PURPLE PANTS SZ34-30 J0RDACHE. Fingerprint, dental and DNA is available. [43 miles from Chatsworth, CA] Visit https://www.identifyus.org/en/cases/3592

- NAMUS 7278. Case No. 2000-0701. Riverside County. Male, white, 40-70 years. Probable year of death 1999 to 2000. Case Manager Dawna Wimsatt 951-443-2300). Riverside County, Bermuda Dunes, Ca. Mummified and skeletal remains found in a sleeping bag tangled in a large section of cut trees. In Oct, 1999 the trees had been cut down and stacked by the road. Mummified. He was found while crews were chipping trees at the site. It is believed he may have died before the trees were cut and was moved with the trees by bulldozer from where was camping. It is believed that this man is a transient as no identification was located and no family found. He was wearing a short sleeve blue shirt no mention of trousers or shoes. blond, gray hair, unknown hair color, unknown height.Undescribed sleeping bag. Dental available, fingerprint and DNA not available. https://identifyus.org/cases/7278

- NAMUS 8491, Case No.  2000-04708, Date Found August 30, 2000. Postmortum estimate two days. Desert Center, Riverside, CA. Case Manager Dawna Wimsatt, Riverside County 951-443-2300. White Male, 50-65 years. Apparent transient had a small camp under a freeway overpass bridge and was found by freeway workers lying in pool of water after a recent rain. No food or water at the scene but he had several items of clothing. He was found lying on a blanket with no noted trauma to his body. No wallet, keys, or identification was located. 70 inches tall, 130 lbs., gray or partially gray hair, full head hair with thinning in front. Fiingerprint is not available. He was wearing blue sweat pants (large size) . He had a blue sweat shirt nearby, a Pendleton shirt and a cammoflage jacket. .White sneakers were found near him. Dental info is available. DNA not avail. https://identifyus.org/cases/8491
 
« Last Edit: November 24, 2017, 09:13:48 AM by Concerned »

Concerned

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Re: John F. Ward | 68 | Chatsworth, CA | Missing August 30, 1994
« Reply #6 on: November 05, 2017, 11:41:31 AM »
This is a difficult case. The family report that John would walk for miles as part of his healthy lifestyle when he didn't have dementia and then when he came down with it, he still enjoyed walking the trails that he had before and usually did well with it.

But, for most people when a loved one who has dementia wanders away, there may be other traits that can help them to be found. I found an interesting book that might be helpful to others caring for a loved one. Visit, "Dementia and Wandering Behavior: Concern for the Lost Elder" by Nina M. Silverstein, PhD, Gerald Flahterty, and Terri Salmons Tobin, PhD.

Source:  https://books.google.com/books?id=vPK6lijpje8C&pg=PA56&lpg=PA56&dq=missing+dementia+found+years+later&source=bl&ots=-LYMX6z-yf&sig=Pz1slvx_GoT0UuvIF-5HZw9KbQI&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwif5fnO-6fXAhUW1mMKHbfdAkM4HhDoAQhRMAg#v=onepage&q=missing%20dementia%20found%20years%20later&f=false.