LEMON GROVE, California – Thomas “Randy” Gatewood, 79, has been missing since 2007. He was last seen at his house in Yuma and suffers from dementia.
After a missing person’s report and years without answers, Randy’s brother Gene assumed the worst, according to NBC San Diego.
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“It’s almost unbelievable,” said Gene. “I hate to say it, but I thought he was probably deceased. That’s the story I’ve been telling family and friends for some time.”
The family finally got some good news this March after updating the missing person’s report and swabbing their DNA at Identify the Missing Day in San Diego.
They found out that Randy had been taken to a hospital in 2011 after he and another elderly man were found abandoned in a hotel room by their caregiver. Officials then found two addresses for Randy and when Gene called, one place said Randy lived there.
“I was absolutely flabbergasted,” Gene said. “My God, he’s alive and well and being cared for. [It was the] opposite of what I thought.”
They reunited in April and have a lot of time to make up for.