Watch CBS News

Where's Myrtle Polk? Oak Cliff community rallies to find missing 88-year-old woman

Where's Myrtle Polk? Oak Cliff community rallies to find missing 88-year-old woman
Where's Myrtle Polk? Oak Cliff community rallies to find missing 88-year-old woman 02:03

DALLAS – Where is Myrtle Polk? It's the question many members of the Oak Cliff community are frantically asking after the beloved 88-year-old woman went missing over two weeks ago in the Singing Hills neighborhood. 

A Silver Alert related to the disappearance of 88-year-old Myrtle Polk can be seen as far as Houston, according to her family. 

"How do you not find somebody [when the information] is out there so prevalent," said her niece Tawana Watson. "I want to bring her home." 

Have you seen Myrtle Polk? CBS News Texas

Myrtle Polk was last seen driving a black sedan near her home in the 1100 block of Indian Creek Trail in Dallas on June 11. 

Myrtle Polk is a pillar of her community, a retired teacher, and a devout member of her church.  When she didn't show up for service on June 9, they knew something was wrong.

Also affectionately known as "Mama M" or "Aunt Myrt," Myrtle Polk is living with dementia. But her niece said — as late as the day before — the family had no indication that anything was wrong. 

"She was a very good driver, she knew where she was…I talked to her that Friday [and] she was in her right mind," Watson said. 

Her son Phillip Polk believes she could have driven anywhere, given that she has dementia, but she does like to frequent local Walmarts.

"She loved Walmarts! She would just go to people-watch," Phillip Polk shared.

Myrtle Polk's family rallied for her safe return, including her daughters and a niece. Tawana Watson, left; Joyce Jones, center; Charlotte Lester, right. CBS News Texas

Watson does not believe the matriarch left home on her own. 

"She was such a trustworthy person, I believe that Aunt Myrtle met somebody that she trusted, she let them [into her home] and they hurt her," she continued. 

If it was possible to find joy in the midst of the frustrating moments of waiting, Myrtle Polk's daughter, Nora Polk, said the strong support from the community in addition to the family's faith was producing it. 

"You get a hug, you get a phone call, you get a text message…all of those little things to other people are big things to us because it just continues to show the love of this community for her," she said. 

Nora Polk said she and her husband were supposed to be traveling out of the country when they heard the news; they rushed to Dallas instead. 

"In a million years I never thought this would be happening," she added. 

Nora Polk said the brief moments that the crowd gathered together for encouragement were healing and also a reminder to keep actively searching for her mother, a retired teacher who is well-known in the community. 

A neighbor of Myrtle Polk holds up a missing person flyer.  CBS News Texas

"What we're going through, families go through across this country with folks dealing with dementia," she added. 

In 2022 Columbia University researchers estimated that as many as one in 10 Americans ages 65 and older had dementia or other cognitive impairment. 

Nora Polk said the family hopes sharing their story will encourage people to continue looking for her while encouraging others who might find themselves in a similar situation. 

"We want people to realize [that] even if this happens [to them], it's not the end….they can have hope," she continued. "We can feel the love so we really appreciate it. Remember, she's coming home." 

Her family remains hopeful, straying away from the "what-ifs."   

"I feel hopeful and encouraged, not because I am some warrior, but because the people around us won't allow us to give up," Phillip Polk stated. "Every lead you aggressively pursue, when it doesn't pan out, go to the next lead. And believe it or not, each lead gives us energy to keep going because the only thing we know is she needs to come home."  

The Texas Silver Alert program was designed to notify the public of missing older adults with a documented mental condition like dementia, including Alzheimer's Disease.

Myrtle Polk is approximately 5-foot-2 and 120 pounds, with white hair and brown eyes. Anyone with information is asked to call 911 or the Dallas Police Department at (214) 671-4268.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.