UPDATE: Local Woman Wants Changes to Silver Alert and Missing Pe - kcentv.com - KCEN HD - Waco, Temple, and Killeen

UPDATE: Local Woman Wants Changes to Silver Alert and Missing Persons Cases

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KILLEEN, TX - (KCEN) – The past two days have been a nightmare. Getting little to no sleep, Nora Arreaga felt helpless when her 87-year-old father Zaragoza Rubio went missing, relieved when he was found two days later, and then angry.

“You just stay by the phone, you wait for that call,” Nora cried. “He didn’t have his heart medication, so you wonder if he’s going to have a heart attack.”

Nora says he went missing sometime Wednesday night, and the last contact was a phone call to his Killeen home by his roommate around 9p.m.

Knowing Zaragoza started showing the early signs of dementia, her mind raced with fears. She and her brother called every hospital and family member, but couldn’t find him. So they went to the Killeen Police Department and filed a missing persons report. But she was told a Silver Alert would not be issued.

“It was frustrating, super frustrating,” she said. “I think in the beginning I got the run around until they realized it was a serious case.”

While Zaragoza was over the age 65, was heart medication dependent, and was believed to be in the early stages of dementia, the Silver Alert was not sent in because he lacked one requirement: he didn’t have medical documentation from a physician for his dementia or Alzheimer’s.

That was out of the police departments hands. The criteria are set by state laws when the Silver Alert was created back in 2007.

It wasn’t until Friday afternoon that Nora got a call that her father had been found. He was more than 180 miles away in San Angelo. “Someone saw my dad asleep in his vehicle so they had the store clerk call the sheriff’s department,” she said. “Apparently he is very disoriented, he didn’t even know his name, how he got there or anything. I just know he was rushed to the hospital.”

That’s when her anger really set in. “Searches needed to be expedited in the future as far as getting information out,” she said. “My thoughts are if they had done it when we reporting him missing the first night I’m sure we would’ve had him home a lot sooner.”

We contacted the Killeen Police Department about their response. Commander Margaret Young says after reviewing the case, she admits they could have done a better job getting the press release out to the media sooner. Media outlets were given the release Friday morning around 10:30a.m. The initial missing persons report was made Thursday night around 10:30p.m.

But Young also says that Zaragoza was put into a national missing person’s data base, and radio broadcasts were put out in the region to state law enforcement agencies at the time he was reported missing. She also says a local broadcast went out and Killeen officers looked for Zaragoza around town Thursday night.

In the end, Nora is thankful her father was found, but she hopes changes can be made to both the Silver Alert system and that local agencies work more diligently to give these endangered missing person cases the care and attention they need.




UPDATE:  According to Killeen police, 87-year-old Zaragoza Rubio has been located in San Angelo and is safe. He was reportedly found in his car in a disoriented state.  Initial reports from police stated he was 86 and that his name was Rubio Zaragoza.



Killeen police were called in regards to a missing elderly man on Thursday June 5th around 10:30 pm.  87-year-old Zaragoza Rubio was last seen around 9 p.m. leaving his home in Killeen.  He drove off in a blue 2003 Chrysler PT Cruiser with Texas license plates DJ2-S840. He is described as a Hispanic male, 5 feet 7 inches tall, about 130 pounds with gray hair and brown eyes. Zaragoza was last seen wearing a beige and brown checkered search with beige pants.

A Silver Alert has been issued.  Rubio's family is concerned for his welfare because he is dependent upon medication and is showing signs of early dementia. If you have any information on his whereabouts you're asked to call the Killeen Police Department at (254) 501-8807.  
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