Family seeks help to find 79-year-old Portland woman with dementia who has moved away from home

A 79-year-old woman who disappeared from her home in Portland’s Hazelwood neighborhood for two days may be disoriented and need help getting home, her family said Saturday.

Charlene Otis drove away from home on Friday morning. The Portland woman is 5-foot-7, 160 pounds and wore a black fur hat and coat, along with burgundy clogs or black Nike shoes with a pink swoosh. Otis has dementia and walks slowly without any walking aids. Her family said Otis usually wore glasses but did not wear them when she was away from home.

Portland police said Saturday that the Columbia County Search and Rescue team sent two trained dogs to track Otis’s scent, and they found her in the area of ​​South 162nd Avenue. East and Southeast Mill Street. The dogs suddenly lost track at a bus stop. Police said it was unclear to them if Otis had boarded a TriMet bus, but they were unaware of the bus system.

Otis’ daughter-in-law, Felesia Otis, said the family is awaiting a response from TriMet to see if they have any security camera footage that may show Otis getting on a bus.

Felesia Otis said her mother-in-law had walked away from home before, but she wasn’t a very strong walker and usually didn’t get very far before family members called on her. find. Family and friends are currently looking for her, but Felesia Otis urged others to keep an eye out for her mother-in-law and made some suggestions on how to approach her.

She said Otis is very interactive and even though she has dementia, she knows his name and the names of his children and his grandson.

“She’s very confused and probably very scared, if people could just take that into account,” Felesia Otis said.

“But if people reach out to her and say they just want to bring her home to her family, that will reassure her,” she said. “What has always been most important to her is her family.”

— Jayati Ramakrishnan

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