CA CA - Barbara Thomas, 69, from Bullhead City AZ, disappeared in Mojave desert, 12 July 2019 #12

Discussion in 'Missing Persons Discussion' started by fictionisbetter, Jul 13, 2019.

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  1. fictionisbetter

    fictionisbetter Active Member

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    Barbara Thomas was hiking with her husband in the Mojave Desert and they became separated. She has not been seen since.

    Search underway for lost hiker in Mojave Desert

    "Thomas does not have supplies or a cell phone, and she was last seen wearing a black bikini, red baseball cap and tan hiking boots with black socks."

    "She is a resident of Bullhead City, and she is 5 feet and 9 inches tall, weighing about 130 pounds, with blonde hair and green eyes."

    Media, Maps, Timeline *NO DISCUSSION* thread

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    CA - CA - Barbara Thomas, 69, from Bullhead City AZ, disappeared in Mojave desert, 12 July 2019 #5
    Thread #6 - CA - CA - Barbara Thomas, 69, from Bullhead City AZ, disappeared in Mojave desert, 12 July 2019 #6
    Thread #7 - CA - CA - Barbara Thomas, 69, from Bullhead City AZ, disappeared in Mojave desert, 12 July 2019 #7
    Thread #8 - CA - CA - Barbara Thomas, 69, from Bullhead City AZ, disappeared in Mojave desert, 12 July 2019 #8
    Thread #9 - CA - CA - Barbara Thomas, 69, from Bullhead City AZ, disappeared in Mojave desert, 12 July 2019 #9
    Thread #10 - CA - CA - Barbara Thomas, 69, from Bullhead City AZ, disappeared in Mojave desert, 12 July 2019 #10

    Thread #11
     
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  2. PaulR

    PaulR Verified Software and Computer Tech

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    If diagnosed, and if the family admitted it to themselves.

    Drivers on the road with Alzheimer's is a real issue.
     
  3. Cherwell

    Cherwell Ice Cream

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    There are other conditions that involve varying degrees of dementia or confusion. Alzheimer's is only one of them.
     
  4. Seajay

    Seajay Never pass up an opportunity to pee

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    Father in law had Alzheimer’s, father and grandmother had dementia. I believe the sufferer of these mental illnesses have had symptoms long before they appear outwardly where others notice. I believe the person starts realizing things aren’t right but are confused and afraid of what it means. They try to hide the symptoms from loved ones as long as they can.

    So, at 69, BT could have had one of these, she just hasn’t gotten far enough into it for others to notice. And as far as the trip to HK is concerned, maybe if she had the onset of mental illness, she was trying to go with as normal a life as she can for as long as she can? I M O
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2019
  5. LietKynes

    LietKynes "What do you despise? By this you are truly known"

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    LBM
    Yes, the behavior is odd but maybe that's me over thinking his reactions ?
    Sorry I think I missed your post.
    Popping in and out today again.
    Who is "he" ?
    tia.

    lbm
    Curious if she was diagnosed and the family didn't want to reveal it to the public.
    Would put a new spin on why she vanished.

    Also interesting in previous posts here about Alzheimer's coming on suddenly --without warning and the affected person immediately acting irrationally.
    I kept thinking there is some warning, and time enough to get professional evaluation and medication.
     
  6. 10ofRods

    10ofRods Verified Anthropologist

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    There often is. Many older people get a bit forgetful (I believe the stat is like 50% at age 75) but it's not necessarilyAlzheimer's. Alzheimer's is difficult to diagnosis until it's impossible not to notice. My dad was no more forgetful at 95 than he was at 70, so we thought he was doing great. With a little prep time, he passed his driver's license test just 6 months before the onset of his (antibiotic-induced) dementia. I had no idea that antibiotics could bring on dementia so quickly. For the rest of his life, he had his good moments and a lot of really not good moments (it was really hard on the grandkids when he didn't recognize them, but then, he'd have a good day). Heat can bring on dementia quickly as well. It's as if the brain is delicate to begin with (due to age) and gets pushed off some inner cliff.

    Looking back, same thing happened to our beloved neighbor who had some quirky changes in personality and then one day, wandered off for the first time and didn't know where she was. She continued wandering off (and being incoherent), although she too had good days. Her husband had died 20 years before and she had adjusted well, but all of a sudden, she thought he was still alive or she thought he had just died a couple of days ago. Her doctor said that her grief (when she thought he had just died) was a big factor in her mental deterioration. My dad went through my mom's death without any cognitive issues, doctor was certain it was the antibiotics. I wish I'd known that when they prescribed them (pneumonia). He would have preferred to die of pneumonia than go through what he did in those next couple of months.

    There's a lot we don't know about Barbara, and there's no way SAR could conduct a big enough search to cover where she *might* have walked that day.
     
  7. 10ofRods

    10ofRods Verified Anthropologist

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    It sure is. And some of the milder symptoms show up at doctors' offices and in lack of medical compliance once they are home. As I mentioned before, psychiatric hospitals end up helping getting dementia patients back home, when they disintegrate during travel. In every case I know about, the family had only vague clues that there might be something wrong, but the travel precipitated worsening of symptoms.

    I keep in mind, though, that a year before Barb had managed a trip to Hong Kong and learned to use a cell phone.
     
  8. katyy

    katyy Member

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    In the UK, if an older patient presents at a hospital with confusion, one of the first tests they do is check if that person has a Urinary Tract Infection. UTIs can be quite common among the older generation and can cause symptoms very similar to Dementia (except very easily and quickly cured!) They are often caused by not drinking enough water or wearing underwear that isn't very breathable (a bikini under shorts, perhaps?) so this could be a theory too (but still doesn't explain why her body hasn't been found yet though...) MOO
     
  9. MsBetsy

    MsBetsy Well-Known Member

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    "He" is the VI who I had stated in the post you replied to, had relayed the only two things LE had said to him about the investigation.

    I thought that's what you were asking about, sorry. You had said you missed that particular post.

    Imo
     
  10. rosesfromangels

    rosesfromangels Amateur speculations and opinion only

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    Today I keep wondering if BT crawled under/in to something for cover and remains there. I know RT checked one crawl in spot. There must be others.

    amateur opinion and speculation
     
  11. PaulR

    PaulR Verified Software and Computer Tech

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    There is a big stigma if you are older about dementia. Tests at the doctor's office don't always catch it - they can seem perfectly coherent until you ask them to do an exercise requiring multiple steps and at that point it's obvious.

    And then there is a loss of freedom that comes with it. Plus acknowledgement that you are slowly losing it.
     
  12. Lilibet

    Lilibet Watching and Waiting

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    BBM

    Thank you for mentioning the UTI/confusion connection. I learned about this when it happened to my Mom almost 20 years ago, but a lot of people still don’t know about it. I used to bug my Mom about drinking more water, but she didn’t want to have to “go” all the time. Now that I’m older, I get how annoying that is, but it’s so important to stay hydrated.

    Regarding Barbara, I still believe she was able to wander further than the search perimeter before the search even got started or expanded. We’re talking a couple of hours at least and probably more. Confusion wouldn’t affect her walking ability. I suspect that RT took longer than he thought he did taking a photo and that she was already out of voice range when he discovered she was missing.

    OT PSA: I just read recently that a study has shown that if doctors suspect a UTI they should start antibiotics immediately and not wait for the urine test results. They can always switch antibiotics if necessary, but it’s really important to get a jump on it. My MIL died after ignoring a UTI that went into sepsis, so it can be a matter of life and death.
    Seniors With UTIs Need Antibiotics ASAP, Study Says
     
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  13. Curiousobserver

    Curiousobserver Well-Known Member

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    There are many examples of lost hikers who were on clear trails and disappeared without a trace. Cognitive impairment likely didn't factor into most of them and its not necessary to imagine that scenario here. However, the possibility of impairment given her age, only serves to tip the balance even further of my estimation of the probability that she got lost vs other outcomes.

    We don't know if BT was suffering from any cognitive impairment and we are unlikely to be able to find out- but add it to the list of reasonable things that might have contributed to an accident.

    Her hearing might not have been terrific, her eyesight, was she dehydrated, was she a little tipsy from the beer, or the heat etc...

    If she took a wrong turn and didn't realize it quickly, she was in big trouble and she may have wandered for many miles in the wrong direction.
     
  14. rosesfromangels

    rosesfromangels Amateur speculations and opinion only

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    <modsnip>

    If BT went off to relieve herself, (based on where we think RT last saw her) - which direction would she have gone to be obscured from sight? The closest boulders, etc?

    Amateur opinion and speculation
     
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  15. 10ofRods

    10ofRods Verified Anthropologist

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    This is my favorite question to ponder. Obviously, if she was 4-5 minutes from the trailer, she went there. But if, for whatever reason, she couldn't find the key (that would be me, esp if someone else hid the key and said, "hey, remember this rock here!) At my age (just a bit younger than Barbara), when I have to go, I have to go.

    I would, myself, have headed down Hidden Hills Road (partly because it's a bit more barren there - the reason there are more plants on the other side of the road is that there are all those sloping boulder fields). I would have gotten off the road after walking as far as I thought would be needed for privacy, and then probably only 20 yards/1-2 minutes off the road. Some people might want more distance, some might want less. If I were in a bikini, well, I'd want more privacy, as it would be really weird to be all the way down to just...a bikini top, even if only for a moment. OTOH, must be fairly easy to squat with just a bikini bottom.

    Upon arising, it would be easy to get a little disoriented and walk in the wrong direction from the road (but I'd think she'd notice after 1-2 minutes that she hadn't reached the road again. Maybe not, though. I would be super p o'ed at not finding the key (at self, at husband, at the universe, especially after spending $60,000 or so on the darned trailer, just to have a bathroom!)

    I don't get the feeling that the section east of Kelbaker was searched as well as the western section (just going by SAR photos).

    My own voice doesn't carry far. I can hear well, but I would have a hard time making my voice heard, even at 100 yards.

    It still doesn't make a lot of sense (why did she keep wandering away from HH road, if that's where she went?)

    She could also have decided to walk back across the road and into some brush there, thinking she could short cut up the dry wash and find RT (who, I'll bet a whole donut, did not show up at the trailer 5 minutes after Barbara).
     
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  16. quidnunc247

    quidnunc247 Well-Known Member

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    I’m trying to catch up, but can’t seen to find where or why the topic of dementia was first mentioned.
     
  17. LietKynes

    LietKynes "What do you despise? By this you are truly known"

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    I was responding to posts within this thread, somewhat before my comment.
    It may have been mentioned before.

    Barbara had an overseas trip --by herself -- planned , and unless RT informed her family members that she might have had early onset dementia (this is only possible if RT himself thought she was becoming irrational, we don't know) --her family may have had no inkling of this !
    All of this is a great deal of speculation, of course.

    As far as anyone here knows, Barbara was of sound mind.

    We're discussing if she had swift onset dementia which would result in her wandering off alone and leaving the marked trail.
    Just another theory to consider.
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2019
  18. cazador

    cazador Well-Known Member

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    Page 52 post 1021 of the last thread.. I posted about a man who lost his wife in a shopping mall, who was suffering from dementia..
     
  19. cazador

    cazador Well-Known Member

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    How far could or would BT wander ??
    The heat was extreme... No shade.. She must have been uncomfortable as RT wanted to take pictures and she wanted to Use the 5th wheel Trailer according to RT..
    This is where we start theorizing as to what happened next.
    Unless there is something about Barbara we do not know, because of the extreme temperature, I do not believe she would wander that far out. So this is where I consider a heat stroke.
    jmho
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2019
  20. 10ofRods

    10ofRods Verified Anthropologist

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    The heat at 2 pm was about 102-104 (not extreme from the point of someone who lives in BHC, where it was 110-112 that day). By 4, it was certainly 104 in the shade.

    I agree she went to the trailer for one or both of two reasons (potty break and heat - probably both). Still, they had camped near the Colorado River many times (see pictures) where it is always about 10 degrees hotter than at Granite Peak area, since it's quite a bit higher in altitude.

    She never used the trailer, apparently, either because she couldn't find the key or because she never arrived there.

    In just one hour, she could have gone 3 miles. Average grid search is about 1-2 square miles (so either ½ mile in each direction or ¾ mile) plus they had ATV's go behind the nearby boulders and a helicopter fly a perimeter - but aerial searches are a really poor substitute for ground searches). If they did 1 mile in each direction, that's 4 square miles (and still, she could easily be outside that area). Often, a double search is done in the 1-2 square mile area, taking 2-3 days (depending on heat - it got way hotter by that next Tuesday).

    So, I think if she walked 2 miles (which would take about an hour), she'd have been outside the search area. At 3 miles from the starting point, that's 9 square miles - no desert search that I know of has ever been that large and it would have taken more than 8 days.

    Gosh I wish we knew more to help you, Cazador. The thing about heat stroke is that the body reacts by disguising the initial discomfort (kind of like how cold victims start feeling hot). A person can get a chilly fever and feel quite perky while in the middle stages of heat exhaustion. But it's a large area to search. You be careful!
     
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