Lead Story Local News West Edition

Man with Alzheimer’s still missing; family blames CHP

SOUTH LOS ANGELES — The family of a man who suffers from Alzheimer’s and dementia who has been missing since Nov. 5 are distraught over his disappearance and they are blaming the California Highway Patrol for his disappearance.

Douglas James, 62, was a passenger in a car driven by his twin brother Donald James when they were stopped by the California Highway Patrol Nov. 5.

The CHP arrested Donald James on suspicion of driving while under the influence.

Donald James said, “I explained to the officers very clearly that my brother had Alzheimer’s and dementia, and I said to please take him home, and they said they would.”

Instead, CHP officers dropped Douglas and his dog Teddy Bear off at an ARCO gas station at Western Avenue and 227th Street in Torrance, 12 miles from the home the brothers shared in South Los Angeles. 

He was last seen around 8 p.m. that night in the vicinity of the 800 block of Sepulveda Boulevard in Harbor City.

His dog was found in Wilmington five days later.

Donald said that he and Douglas share an apartment in the 8200 block near Main Street in South Los Angeles and that he would not be able to make it back to their apartment by himself.

After his release from jail, officers drove Donald back to his apartment, but Douglas was not there.

A number of distraught family members held a press conference near the Federal Courthouse in downtown Los Angeles Nov. 21 as well as at an Inglewood church on Nov. 28. They are appealing to the public to come forward if anyone has any information concerning their missing relative.

“I went looking [for Douglas] all that night, the next morning, the next day and I’ve been looking up until this day now,” Donald said at one of the press conferences.

“I think this (case) is misconduct on the part of the CHP,” said attorney Mark Ravis, who is representing the James family. “When a police officer stops somebody, they are responsible for that person’s well being. They knew that Douglas James had dementia because his brother told them.”

Ravis said that the CHP officers allegedly gave conflicting stories about where they dropped off Douglas James that night.

“They gave three different locations, including a Jack in the Box,” Ravis said.

“After his disappearance, the family called the CHP every day for news about Douglas,” Ravis said. “The family said that the CHP officers were very callous towards them.  

“The CHP officers would say, ‘We’re still working on the case. No news.’ It was only after the family held two press conferences that Ravis believes the officers began searching for James.

“We’re trying to get the public’s attention about this case,” Ravis said.  “We plan to file a civil case. We are trying to put pressure on the officers to do the right thing, and we are also asking Governor Gavin Newsome to investigate the CHP.”

Douglas is bald with brown eyes. He stands 5 feet 9 inches tall and weighs about 150 pounds. On the night he went missing, he was wearing a black shirt and black pants.

The CHP issued a statement saying their officers were able to communicate clearly with Douglas and that they followed policy and dropped him in a safe, public place, but due to the distress of family members over Douglas’s disappearance, the case is under review.

Detectives at the LAPD are asking for the public’s help in locating Douglas James. Anyone with information regarding Douglas James should call Detective Merrill at the LAPD’s Missing Person’s Unit at (213) 996-1800.

“I explained to the officers very clearly that my brother had Alzheimer’s and dementia, and I said to please take him home.”

—Donald James

By Shirley Hawkins

Contributing Writer