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Family asks for public's help finding woman with Alzheimer's disease who vanished at LACMA

Family asks for public's help finding woman with Alzheimer's disease who vanished at LACMA
Nancy Paulikas, 55, was last seen Saturday afternoon at LACMA. Paulikas suffers from Alzheimer's disease and has difficulty communicating, her husband said. (Courtesy of Kirk Moody)

Police and family members are asking the public to help find a 55-year-old woman with Alzheimer’s disease who went missing during a visit to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Nancy Paulikas was last seen exiting the restroom at LACMA about 3 p.m. Saturday. She appeared to walk toward a museum exhibit, but then she vanished, her husband said.

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Kirk Moody said he and his wife had separated from other family members at the museum to use the restroom. He used a men's restroom nearby and returned to the women's restroom area, expecting to meet his wife. But she was gone.

"I have had no experience of her roaming. In prior experiences, she's waited," Moody said. "It never occurred to me that she'd be gone before I finished."

Family members who had accompanied the couple to LACMA began searching the sprawling campus. The museum's security joined in the search effort.

The Los Angeles Police Department was notified of Paulikas’ disappearance Saturday evening and deployed a helicopter to scan the neighborhood. Officers also canvassed a two-square-mile section of the Miracle Mile area around the museum.

Moody and Paulikas live in Manhattan Beach, and police there also issued an alert about her disappearance.

Friends have posted fliers and launched a website with regular updates about the search. The family is now offering a $1,000 reward for information that leads to her recovery.

Moody, who married Paulikas in 2002, said the round-the-clock search has so far yielded little information. Museum security cameras recorded only her leaving the bathroom and approaching an exhibit.

"No clues, no hints," Moody said. "No nothing."

Paulikas grew up in Palos Verdes and worked as a software engineer and later, a technology executive at a financial firm. She retired in 2011 and developed Alzheimer's disease about three years ago, Moody said.

Her decline has hastened in the last few months. Paulikas has difficulty communicating and has a poor sense of navigation,her husband said.

At the time of her disappearance, she did not have a phone, identification cards or cash. Moody said she was carrying a case for her glasses and had a MediAlert bracelet that indicates she has dementia and includes her first name and phone number. But she is prone to removing the bracelet, he said.

Paulikas has blue eyes and gray hair and is 5 feet 7. She was last seen wearing blue jeans, navy sandals and a shirt with a red, black and white pattern, the LAPD said.

Anyone with information about Paulikas' whereabouts is asked to contact the LAPD's Missing Persons Unit at  (213) 996-1800 or (877) 527-3247. Her husband also asked members of the public to contact him at (310) 650-7965.

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Twitter: @MattHjourno.

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