Monica Wickham arrived in Chilliwack this week from Chicago to join the now desperate search for her father who suffers from severe Alzheimer’s.
Family members, community volunteers, RCMP and Chilliwack Search and Rescue have been involved in the search for 79-year-old John Pop last seen at around 4 p.m. in the Teskey/Bridlewood area of Promontory.
|The approximate area where John Pop was last seen on Oct. 22. (GoogleMaps)|
Wickham talked to The Progress late Thursday as she was responding to a tip that a person who was not very alert was spotted in Hope.
“It’s a little far but we take everything and follow through,” she said.
Volunteers and family were scouring the hills and trails on Promontory Heights since Tuesday. Friday morning, Wickham said on the Facebook group Missing: John Pop that she was looking to get a group of searchers together to look on a trail near Tournier Place, which is close to where Pop lives with his wife and son.
“Good morning, as we are moving into 72 hrs this is very critical we find him,” she wrote. “I feel that if he was in town he wouldn’t hide himself, he would want to be by people. I wonder if he has fallen in the trail somewhere and he’s off the trail. He wasn’t wearing proper shoes. Please check under bushes and all hidden areas. 94 per cent of people that wander are found within 1.5 miles of where they disappeared. He has to be somewhere around here! Please help us find him. If you see him anywhere walking he’s not a violent person, he’s very sweet all the time. Please stop him and call 911 immediately. Thank you.”
Pop was wearing blue track pants with white stripes, a brown pullover sweatshirt and house slippers. He typically wears a medical bracelet on his right wrist that has a phone number for his family on it.
Pop weighs about 200 pounds, stands 5’6”, and has grey hair that’s balding on top.
Wickham said Pop has long been physically active and likes to go for hikes and walks, but because of his severe dementia he is never allowed to walk by himself. He even usually wears a GPS tracker called a Trackimo, but it wasn’t working. The family also has the door set up to ring a bell if it opens, something that he has tried to do from time to time.
“It happend a couple of weeks ago, [my mother] heard it and came right out and grabbed,” she said. “He was wanting to step outside again. This time, I don’t know, mom said she was putting dishes away and didn’t hear anything.”
Wickham said if you spot an elderly man matching the description, particularly someone who looks disoriented, to ask him if his name is John.
“I think he would say ‘yes’” she said.
Anyone with any information about a sighting is asked to call police at 604-792-4611. (File number 2019-46811).
The search for John Pop comes just two months after a long search for another elderly person with severe dementia. That search involved dozens of people in the community starting on July 13, but ended tragically when Ethel ‘Grace’ Baranyk was found deceased on August 21.