Missing woman found at hospital

GLENDALE — A 62-year-old woman who went missing from a retirement home in southeast Glendale last week was safe in a Los Angeles hospital Tuesday, after firefighters found her near the Los Angeles-Glendale border.

Dyane Blackford was last seen leaving Leisure Vale Retirement Home on East Cypress Street at about 7 a.m. Thursday, Glendale Police Officer John Balian said.

Officials were especially concerned because Blackford, who has suffered a stroke, has limited cognitive abilities and has difficulty communicating, Balian said.

On the same day of her disappearance, Los Angeles County firefighters found a woman walking on San Fernando Road near the Los Angeles border, Glendale Police Community Services Officer Kristina Peterson said.

Due to her inability to provide her own name, officials designated her a “Jane Doe,” estimated her age at 90 and took her to Los Angeles Community Hospital, Peterson said.

It was the nearly 30-year discrepancy in ages that kept Blackford from being identified and reported to Leisure Vale officials for five days after she was found, Peterson said.

Officials at Leisure Vale were distributing a current photograph of Blackford to public safety agencies and medical centers in the area, and their efforts led to Blackford being located at Community Hospital, Peterson said.

As of Tuesday, Blackford was resting comfortably without any injuries at the hospital.

Police had notified the television network system to get the word out that Blackford was missing, also passing out fliers, notifying area bus lines and checking local hospitals, Balian said. But the sheer number of men and women living in retirement homes, coupled with both residents and visitors going in and out frequently, often makes accounting for residents difficult, he said.

“We’re a very large city — the third largest in L.A. County — so it happens quite a bit,” Balian said. “But most of them have a happy ending when we end up locating or seeing them or when they show up.”

In January, retired Glendale teacher Dean Christy, 62, went missing while on a hike in the Verdugo Mountains. Rescue teams and volunteers conducted an active search for nine days after Sheriff’s deputies lost contact with Christy via cellphone, but he was not found.

In November 2005, an 82-year-old woman was found unharmed at a Whole Foods Market only eight hours after her family reported that she was missing.

In 2004, an 80-year-old man was missing from a retirement home for nine days before he was located.

 CHRIS WIEBE covers public safety and the courts. He may be reached at (818) 637-3232 or by e-mail at chris.wiebe@ latimes.com.

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