92-year-old gets lost on drive from Seal Beach to Long Beach Airport—and is found in Tijuana

A 92-year-old Seal Beach woman was back home Thursday after getting lost on her way to Long Beach Airport — and ending up more than two hours away by the side of a busy road in Tijuana.

Shirley Reimers was found Wednesday morning next to her crashed Buick in an area near the U.S. border fence in Tijuana, Seal Beach police said.


"I could tell she was frightened," said Maya Martin, a 34-year-old Tijuana resident who stopped to help. "She was totally lucid, physically all right, emotionally all right, but worried and not knowing what to do."

Reimers' cross-border odyssey started Tuesday night when she went to pick up her son, Peter Reimers, at the airport about 8 p.m. Reimers "just got disoriented and drove around for quite a while and ended up at the San Diego border," said Sgt. Michael Henderson, spokesman for the Seal Beach Police Department.

It was more than 12 hours after setting out that Shirley Reimers found help in Tijuana. She had crashed her car into a median strip, ruining the suspension, and was stranded on an offramp near the International Highway, which leads from downtown Tijuana to Playas de Tijuana.

Martin decided to bring Reimers to her house in Tijuana's nearby Colonia El Mirador. From there, they called Reimers' distraught son, who had reported her missing.

But pinpointing Reimers' exact location proved problematic, as the house had neither a street address nor a land telephone line. Martin was asked to go to the Seal Beach Police Facebook page and do a "pin drop." With that information, the U.S. Marshals Service helped contact Tijuana police, who went to the residence and took Reimers to the San Ysidro border crossing, Henderson said.

At the border, with help from San Diego police and the California Highway Patrol, Reimers was delivered to the Seal Beach police, who drove her home to her residence in Leisure World.

Reimers, who is diabetic, was shaken by the experience but in good condition. "She was confused and upset," Henderson said. "She was upset with herself."

Reimers could not be reached Thursday.

"It felt very good to be able to help," Martin said. "I began to think, what if this were my grandmother, my mother, how would it feel?"

Dibble writes for the San Diego Union-Tribune.