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Exclusive: Good Samaritan Gets Missing 79-Year-Old Man With Dementia Home By Uber

EAST HOLLYWOOD (CBSLA) - A family said an Uber driver came to the rescue, bringing home a 79-year-old man with dementia who had been missing for more than 24 hours when he simply showed back up on the doorstep.

They said wanted to thank the person who helped their loved one get back home, but they don't know who it is or where to find them.

Missing Man 1
Juaquin Lopez, at home, safe, with his daughter-in-law Estela Bueno. Feb. 15, 2022 (CBSLA)

"I just want to know where she is, who she is. I want to hug her. I want to thank her because she brought him home," said Estela Bueno, who was still emotional days after she was reunited with her father-in-law Juaquin Lopez.

The 79-year-old has dementia and had been missing for more than a day.

He went missing last Tuesday after he left his East Hollywood home at around 4 p.m., which was a normal part of his daily routine, but hours went by and Lopez never returned home.

That's when his family started to worry.

"We were afraid maybe somebody could jump him, you know, take his money away or you know...and he doesn't know what's going on," Bueno said.

The family searched everywhere for Lopez, filed a missing persons report and put up fliers looking for him.

Missing Man 3

"We were all driving until four o'clock in the morning. Our family tried to come home and go to sleep. I couldn't because everybody just kept on calling me," Bueno said.

Then, the next day, more than 24 hours later, Lopez showed up back at home.

"My mother-in-law walks out and she sees him outside standing," Bueno said.

Lopez was picked up by a driver with Uber in Culver City, nearly 7 miles away.

"I hugged the lady. I hugged her and I asked her if she know who the lady was and she didn't know. She just told me that she was Asian and that she had paid for it and to just make sure that this was the place where he lived," Bueno said.

Lopez's ID helped the Good Samaritan get him home, but it's still unclear how he got nearly 7 miles away from his house and who the woman was that helped get him back.

"I mean, we keep on questioning him, asking him, but he doesn't remember. We asked him if he maybe slept somewhere and he said he slept in some bushes, but we don't know," Bueno said.

In Spanish, Lopez told his daughter-in-law, in response to a question from CBSLA, that he doesn't remember the woman who helped him get home, which was one of the reasons the family wanted to share this story, to thank a complete stranger in Culver City who potentially saved Lopez's life.

"God had placed her there to bring him home because who knows where he would've ended, and there's good people out there that do good things," Bueno said.

The family said they are now making sure that whenever Lopez goes on a walk that they are with him, and they've also put a small air-tag on his belt so that if he does go missing again, they'll be able to track him much easier.


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