Find it: For two weeks now, since the day he walked away from his western neighborhood of Elk Grove on the morning of August 9, it has been the mission of dozens. in search of Kiflit Ghebremariam, 77 years old.
At 5 p.m. outside Elk Grove Town Hall on Wednesday, family and friends will make another urgent plea at a scheduled press conference, repeating the description posted on social media and printed on flyers nailed to lighting standards and supermarket bulletin boards:
Male black, 5 feet 8 inches, 170 pounds and bald with a white mustache. White shirt, dark blue pants, black tennis shoes.
Ghebremariam is in danger. He suffers from dementia, which is probably why he moved away from his home near East Taron Drive in the Stonelake neighborhood of Elk Grove, according to his family. He needs medicine.
Ghebremariam’s family and the many members of the small but deeply connected East African community of Elk Grove and beyond who have joined the research are working in the present – with the hope, 15 days later, of bring him home safe and sound.
“A lot of people from the Bay Area came. Family from Denver, Boston and Dallas. People come to help us, ”said daughter-in-law Tsegha Belay. The retired businessman has helped many residents of Boston’s Eritrean immigrant community start their businesses, Belay said. “He has helped so many people. They want to give back what they have been given. People are shocked to see this.
Every morning and again in the hours before dusk, they rummage, 60 or more at a time in groups of two and three, wherever tips lead: a Nugget Market mall on Elk Grove Boulevard and Bruceville Road; a Walmart on Whitelock Parkway; cross town on Sheldon Road and Elk Grove-Florin Road. A half-finished housing estate on Poppy Lane. A Chevron station on Big Horn Boulevard and at Oasis Community Park near Whitelock Parkway.
“We were even told he was at Rancho Cordova,” his son Michael Kiflit said on Tuesday.
Elk Grove police dispatched a helicopter the first evening Ghebremariam failed to return home, with the pilot flying over the neighborhoods at low altitude, shouting the description of the missing man over the helicopter speaker .
A few days later, on August 16, officers from Elk Grove joined by researchers from Sacramento County, Yolo County and the California Rescue Dog Association he later embarked on a more in-depth search of the Stonelake area and beyond without success.
The city and private businesses have shared footage of traffic and security cameras. Sightings keep coming that give the family hope.
In the most recent, August 20, a woman reported a man who matched Ghebremariam’s description miles from his Stonelake home at Gerber Road and Stockton Boulevard.
Ghebremariam likes to walk. When he was in better health, Kiflit said, he often walked for miles north on Franklin Boulevard to Mack Road and back. His family are now wondering if he made a similar trip from south to north or if, confused, he headed east to central Elk Grove and even further east.
Kiflit began using a drone to better monitor neighborhoods, open spaces, and the network of stream beds and drainage canals crisscrossing the city.
“We are doing all the work we can,” Kiflit said. “It was really tiring. We are tired – mentally, physically. We are tired.”
But, he later added, “People saw it at Oasis Park, so it’s our office now.”
On Tuesday evening, Kiflit, his wife, Tsegha Belay, and the research team met under the large shade structure at Oasis Community Park off Whitelock Parkway where they traded the latest leads, pored over Google maps showing possible sightings and spreadsheets listing locations, grabbed new piles of leaflets and waited for their assignments.
“We looked everywhere from Elk Grove to the Sacramento border. Some people went downtown, ”said family friend and group mission planner Michael Sebhat as he prepared search lists from a park table.
Tuesday night’s group was about 15 people, a mix of business men and women, shift workers, family and friends, some of whom had just arrived from the Bay Area. After a brief briefing and encouraging handshakes, an eager “let’s go” came from one of the researchers.
The group split into two and three. They once again deployed to city parks and malls, pedestrianized neighborhoods and creek beds and construction sites to find their friend.
“It’s very difficult, but our community is a very good community. Strong, ”said the friend of the Sebhat family. “We prayed every day. We have so many leads. We just hope he survives.