Man Found Thanks to Stranger’s Help : Reunion: A mentally disabled man who was missing after leaving a tour bus from Anaheim is returned to family members in Oregon after efforts by a Los Angeles resident.
He had been beaten and robbed.
His feet were covered with blisters, and he was badly sunburned. He had lost 20 pounds.
But 35-year-old Russell Lomax, a retarded man from Portland, Ore., who wandered away from a Hollywood bus tour last week, was reunited with his family Wednesday, thanks to the kindness and perseverance of a Los Angeles man.
Martin Dominguez first spotted Lomax at Evergreen Recreation Center on East 2nd Street in Los Angeles. Then he saw a picture of the missing man on television and searched for two days until he relocated him early Wednesday, still wandering near the center. Dominguez took him home and called police while Dominguez’s mother, Jessie, fed Lomax a meal.
Lomax, who has the mental capacity of an 8-year-old, had disappeared April 26 from the Gray Line tour after being put on a bus in Anaheim by a brother-in-law attending a convention in Orange County. The family, including relatives in Huntington Beach and Santa Ana, set out on an exhaustive search, posting flyers all over the Hollywood area where Lomax had last been seen.
Family members said Wednesday’s reunion was emotional.
“He fell sobbing into my arms,” said John Himes, 48, Lomax’s brother-in-law and legal guardian who had brought him along on a business trip to Anaheim.
Lomax’s family was relieved Thursday to have him home in Portland.
“I was so scared for him,” said his sister, Carolyn Himes, 49.
Family members expressed special appreciation to Dominguez, 30, who twice refused offers of money from Lomax’s family. Himes said he finally forced $200 into Dominguez’s hand.
“I didn’t do it for the money, man,” said Dominguez, an unemployed former city employee. “I’m just glad that he’s back with his family.”
Lomax was recuperating Thursday at his home in Oregon. He was nursing blisters from having walked night and day, and bruises all over his body from being attacked, beaten and robbed of his wallet and all identification.
All things considered, though, Lomax said, “I feel fine.”
"(But) I don’t want to go back to Los Angeles,” Lomax added in a telephone interview from his home.
Having always dreamed of seeing the homes of Hollywood movie stars, Lomax readily agreed to accompany his brother-in-law to Southern California for a welding conference. While Himes, a welding company salesman, was to attend the conference at the Anaheim Convention Center on April 26, he arranged for Lomax to go on a Gray Line sightseeing tour of the stars’ homes.
Himes said he was assured by Gray Line officials that the tour did not stop.
“I explained to the driver that he had to be watched,” Himes said. “I gave him a $5 tip, and he assured me there would be no problem.”
Lomax’s bus wound up stopping, however, at the Mann Chinese Theater in Hollywood, and all passengers were told to get off. When the tour resumed 15 minutes later, Lomax had disappeared.
Gray Line public relations officials did not return calls for comment Thursday.
“Russ said he stood around for four or five hours waiting to be picked up,” Himes said. “Then he started walking back to the motel.”
Himes alerted Anaheim police that night. Then Himes and other family members from Orange County began a search.
Lomax, meanwhile, wandered the streets, carrying only a watch, a coin purse and a wallet containing $25 in cash. He was wearing a Mickey Mouse T-shirt.
“He is very trusting,” Himes said. “Some panhandlers were coming up to him for money, and he opened his billfold and started giving out $1 bills to them. Then a big guy came up and pulled his ears back and twisted his arms. Then he took his sunglasses, his coin purse and his billfold.”
On Sunday afternoon, Lomax was munching on a discarded taco at Evergreen Recreation Center in the Boyle Heights area of East Los Angeles, when Dominguez struck up a brief conversation. Seeing the man’s picture on television news the following day, Dominguez set out to find him. Finally, Wednesday morning, he found him walking across the 1st Street bridge a few blocks away from Evergreen and brought him home for the police to pick up.
“I just pictured him out there, like an 8-year-old child walking around,” Dominguez said. “I thought this guy must be scared, not knowing anybody.”