Efforts to find 80-year-old Alzheimer’s patient Ray Jones, who disappeared from a Sedro Woolley memory care facility eight days ago, have reached MLTnews. Jones is a former Mountlake Terrace resident and the family is currently concentrating volunteer efforts in places from his past.
“Alzheimer’s patients have been known to try and make their way back to areas where they once lived, so Ray could be in the greater Seattle area or even as far away as Montana,” an email from the family said. “Truck stops along the route have been asked to post Ray’s missing poster.
The Facebook page Help Us Find Ray Jones achieved a viral reach of over 15,000 in just five days. Regular updates are posted and the public is encouraged to share the page to increase the number of eyes looking for Ray. In addition, flyers are being distributed via email and on the ground by an army of volunteers daily, who have posted Ray’s picture in public places in Washington, Idaho and Montana.
Jones has lived in Anacortes, Mill Creek, Lynnwood, and Mountlake Terrace, owning a construction supply business in Seattle at one time. He grew up in Ennis, Mont. and also has ties to Billings. His wife of 57 years, Anne Jones, grew up in the Darrington/Arlington area where Ray spent a lot of time over the years. They also traveled the entire country in a 5th wheel RV for five years, hitting all 50 states.
“When we hit a low point and were totally exhausted, we got a boost of energy from strangers posting that they would help put up flyers in the new target areas in the Seattle suburbs. Other people are faxing for us,” said Bonnie Jones Graham, daughter of the missing man. “It’s heart-warming. People want to help us solve this mystery.”
Relatives and friends from around the country joined with local volunteers over the weekend to again search the immediate area around Riverfront Park and the Skagit River. Search and rescue teams from Skagit and Snohomish Counties scoured Sedro-Woolley three times in the two days after his disappearance. Hundreds of people, a helicopter, five dogs, horses, thermal cameras, and three boats were involved in the initial exhaustive search.
“It’s like he just evaporated,” said Jones’ wife Anne Jones.
Jones walked away from his memory care facility on Monday, Oct. 1 about 11:30 a.m. He was last seen sitting at a picnic table outside the fence of a nearby dog park, within sight of the home at about 12:30 p.m. Neighbors in Sedro-Woolley have searched their garages, barns, sheds and recreational vehicles repeatedly, as it is common for people with Alzheimer’s to hide.
Jones was believed to be wearing a blue plaid shirt and light blue pants, and was likely carrying a black shaving-type bag. He is about 6 feet tall and 225 pounds, with silver hair. He has some moments of clarity so it’s possible he could have received a ride with a motorist and left the area, the family said, adding that he often displays verbal confusion by repeating himself often and substituting words inappropriately.
Anyone with information should call the Sedro-Woolley Police Department at 360-428-3211. If you would like to voluneer, email firstname.lastname@example.org.