Police rule man's death an accident

NORTH GLENDALE — A 57-year-old Rancho Palos Verdes man who was found dead Monday may have fallen off a hillside near Scholl Canyon Landfill, officials said.

Yoshiya Watanabe, who suffered from memory loss and diabetes, was discovered dead about noon Monday on the Glendale hillside after his family reported him missing Thursday morning, officials said.

Watanabe was found Monday wearing the same pajamas as when he went missing Thursday, Glendale police Sgt. Tom Lorenz said.

“Detectives believe it was just a very unfortunate and tragic situation,” he said.

Police have preliminarily ruled out any foul play, but are waiting for an official cause of death from the Los Angeles County coroner’s office.

Watanabe was reported missing about 9:30 a.m. Thursday after his son noticed that his Mercedes-Benz wasn’t at their home, authorities said.

Watanabe went missing when his son, who had been caring for him that morning, took a shower, said Det. Diane Harris of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Missing Persons Bureau.

Watanabe, who also suffered from seizures and hypertension, left in the Mercedes, she said.

A Glendale hiker on Sunday spotted the sedan parked on a dirt road along Chevy Chase and Scholl canyons and reported it to police.

Watanabe and his family didn’t have ties to Glendale, Lorenz said.

Between 10% and 15% of of missing-persons cases handled by the Sheriff’s Department suffer from an altered mental state, including dementia, Alzheimer’s and symptoms stemming from a stroke or heart attack, Harris said.

“It’s becoming very problematic,” she said.

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