Daughter of missing man says she learned valuable lessons

My father was Gene Pillow, who retired to Crescent City with his longtime partner, Lillian andquot;Susieandquot; to her friends, about 25 years ago so they could fish and enjoy life. When Lillian got too sick for him to care for, her son moved her to his home in North Carolina. My father wanted to stay in his home, so we did our best to care for him there. We hired two caregivers to care for him on a daily basis and we made trips to see him about every two months or so.

On June 15, he was brought home by the sheriff's department after being found at someone's home on Park View Drive after being outside all night not knowing who he was or where he lived. The family members were not aware of this incident, and the sheriff's deputy just took him home to an empty house and left him instead of taking him to the hospital to get checked out. The caregivers were notified and checked in on him that morning and left. When they arrived in the morning the next day, he was not home.

The sheriff's deputy and search and rescue told us that they had andquot;combedandquot; the area around his house and alerted his neighbors of him being missing. When my sister and niece arrived the next morning and he was still not home, they did their own search and found some neighbors who did not know he was missing. When I arrived with my daughter from New Jersey on June 19, there still had not even been a dog search for him. They finally got some dogs from another county and did a search up and down Parkway Drive, and the helicopter did a few sweeps over the area for a hour or so.

After that, the sheriff told us there wasn't much else his office could do.

I stayed in Crescent City most of the summer doing my own searches with friends and family. It was very frustrating working with the sheriff's department and search and rescue; I felt like I had to fight to get them to keep looking for my elderly father.

After eight long months of searching, trying to keep his story in the newspapers and TV news, putting up posters all over town, offering a reward, then a higher reward to keep it in the news, he was finally found on Feb. 10 by a young man and his son riding a 4-wheeler in the cow pasture on Parkway Drive not far from my dad's home. He was tucked up under an alder tree waiting for someone to find him.

My sister got a call from my dad's neighbor on Feb. 13 to tell us that there was a story on the front page of the local newspaper that his remains possibly had been found. Neither the sheriff's department nor the newspaper informed the family of this discovery.

I am grateful that he has been found and that we can put him to rest. I pray everyone involved in this matter has learned some good lessons from all of this and that no one else has to ever go thru this with a family member. Our elderly don't seem to get the same attention that the young children get when they go missing. He was just like a little kid out there who was lost, cold and afraid.

I know I have learned some valuable lessons through all this. I pray you keep your loved ones close and tell them daily that you love them.

Geni Pillow