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Police Looking for Leads in Case of Missing 89-year-old Woman

The Mesa resident with Alzheimer's wandered away from her home Saturday

A Santa Barbara woman is the subject of a massive search by the Santa Barbara Police Department after she wandered away from her Cliff Drive home Saturday afternoon.

Metta Thomsen
Metta Thomsen

Metta Thomsen, 89, was first reported missing by a relative at her home, according to police reports. Thomsen suffers from Alzheimer’s and dementia, and this is the second time she has gone missing from the home she shares with her son, authorities said.

Santa Barbara Lt. Ralph Molina described Thomsen as 5 feet 7 inches tall with gray hair. She was last seen wearing jeans, a blue blouse, white tennis shoes and a tan coat.

Thomsen’s home is located in the 3300 block of Cliff Drive, just east of Hope Ranch, above Hendry’s Beach, according to police, and officers have been combing the beach and cliffs since Saturday. Due to her age and mental conditions, and the possibility that Thomsen has been exposed to nighttime temperatures, she remains an at-risk missing person.

Assisting in the nearly two-day-old search have been Santa Barbara County Search and Rescue members, the Harbor Patrol, three California Rescue Dog Association (CARDA) search dogs, one San Luis Obispo County Search and Rescue team dog and many Santa Barbara Police Department personnel, according to Sgt. Lorenzo Duarte, public information officer.

The dogs and their handlers searched Thomsen’s home, and followed her scent trail into Hope Ranch. On Sunday, the search teams continued to search throughout Hope Ranch, and some of the search dogs tracked Thomsen to the west side of the lake along Las Palmas Drive. The sheriff’s department dive team responded and searched a large portion of the lake, Duarte said, but Thomsen was not found.

The formal search for Thomsen was concluded at 5:40 p.m. Sunday, Duarte said, because searchers had exhausted all possible search locations based on the scent track information received from the canines. However, police detectives are still actively working the case, Duarte said Monday afternoon. Anyone with information on the possible whereabouts of Thomsen is asked to call the police department at 805.897.2335 and ask for the Crimes Against Persons section.

As part of the search, the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department conducted reverse notification calls through the 9-1-1 system to residents in the Mesa area, Duarte said; in addition, many Hope Ranch residents were contacted about Thomsen on Sunday.

Noozhawk staff writer Laurie Jervis can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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