Saturday, August 28, 1999

Alzheimer's sufferer missing

73-year-old from Paddock Hills gone a week

The Cincinnati Enquirer

Benjamin Oglesby
        Sometimes, Benjamin Oglesby asked his wife, Mary, to remind him what year he retired. He could be a bit forgetful. At 73, Alzheimer's disease had begun to take its toll.

        Now the Paddock Hills man is missing and his family hopes he is simply lost.

        Relatives have come from as far as Florida to search and post fliers; neighbors and church members have pitched in; the police have been called. On Friday, the Oglesby family went to the media.

        “It's been a week, you know?” said his daughter, Cynthia Oglesby, of North Avondale. “My main concern is: Who's feeding him? Is he eating? Where's he sleeping?”

        Mr. Oglesby, a retired supervisor at the Ford Motor Co., left his home last Friday. He was headed, he told his family, to the Eye World shop just a little bit north on Reading Road in Roselawn to have his glasses repaired. Then he was supposed to go play golf.

        But Mr. Oglesby and his 1997 dark red Ford Ranger pickup haven't been seen since he left the house that day.

        On Sunday, the minister at Calvary United Methodist Church in Evanston asked the congregation to pray for the longtime member.

        “It's one thing when one of your loved ones is in the hospital and you can see them and pray with them,” said the Rev. William Davis. “It's another thing not to even know where he is.”

        The family has asked for media attention, knowing how adult missing person cases can be overlooked. The Cincinnati Police Division alone has 22 active cases of adults reported missing in the past year.

        Across the country, about a million people are reported missing each year. The FBI estimates 850,000 of those cases involve children. Those cases get the most attention.

        Groups such as the Alzheimer's Association are trying to spotlight cases that involve people suffering from dementia.

        More than 30,000 people in the three-state area served by the Greater Cincinnati Alzheimer's Association have been diagnosed with the disease, said Anne VonHoene, coordinator of the group's Safe Return program.

        The program provides identification bracelets and puts people in a national database that provides medical information and contact people in case they are found wandering. Locally, 281 people are registered in the database.

        Mr. Oglesby was not. But calls about him are coming in at the Crime Stoppers hot line at 352-3040.

        “We're still looking for a dark red pickup,” Roselawn neighborhood officer Spc. Charles Dukes said. “That could be the key.”

        As the days go by, everyone is trying to stay positive, Cynthia Oglesby said.

        “The most important thing that's holding us together as a family is our faith,” she said. “You really never know how you touch someone's life until you need help. It just makes you know you're not alone.”

MISSING • Benjamin Oglesby, 73, was last seen Aug. 20 leaving his Paddock Hills home. His description:
        • 5-foot-8, 160-pound black man with thinning gray hair.

        • Wearing a brown-and-white golf shirt and green sweater.

        • Driving a dark red Ford Ranger pickup with Ohio license CAE 7445.

        • Suffers from early stages of Alzheimer's.


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