The search for an elderly Belmont man missing since Monday has been called off, though detectives are still working the case, police announced Thursday.
“The search and rescue portion has been suspended due to the unlikelihood of a dog being able to [track a scent] because of the time that has gone by,” said police Lt. Pete Lotti. “We’ve exhausted all of the leads we’ve received up to this point.”
Paul Patrick Farmer, 84, left his home on the 1600 block of Molitor Road at about 5:30 p.m. Monday and headed north on foot. He was reported missing by his wife a few hours later.
Farmer suffers from dementia, has a history of falls and currently takes medication for high blood pressure and cholesterol. He is 5 feet 11 inches, weighs 140 pounds and has gray hair and blue eyes. He was last seen wearing a red baseball cap, prescription glasses, an unknown jacket or shirt, blue jeans and black shoes, according to a press release.
A search began immediately and with the assistance of the San Mateo County Office of Emergency Services after Farmer was reported missing. It included airplane surveillance, dozens of dogs, hundreds of rescue workers from throughout the Bay Area and off-road vehicles, Lotti said.
“We scoured Belmont and areas we thought it was likely he traveled to and where people thought they saw him,” Lotti said. “
The last confirmed sighting of Farmer was about an hour after he left his home Monday when he was recorded on video surveillance traveling west on Ralston Avenue near Alameda de las Pulgas.
Lotti said there were reports that Farmer was seen as far west as State Route 92 and Ralston Avenue so California Highway Patrol assisted with the search.
“They did a traffic break to search the highway on both sides between Ralston and Hillsdale and as far down as El Camino Real on 92, but nothing came up,” Lotti said. “The dogs would often come up with what they call hitting on an area, but nothing strong enough to run a track on a confirmed scent.”
The search extended into San Mateo and Hillsborough as well.
Farmer would take walks almost every day, but rarely in the evening, Lotti said.
“We don’t know if he got disoriented or what happened, but for someone of his age walking straight up Ralston is a difficult task,” he said. “The family also has no ideas at this point. We’re keeping an open mind so we don’t eliminate any possibility and we’re still continuing to do that.”
Farmer was not carrying a cellphone or money and there was no chance he drove anywhere, Lotti said, adding that there were also no records of him accessing public transportation since Monday. Police also have and will continue to check local hospitals every four hours for Farmer, Lotti added.
“What a sad set of circumstances,” Lotti said. “We’re still holding out hope that things will work out.”
(650) 344-5200 ext. 102