SDMRT 2019-06 Santee 19-20 March

SDMRT Operations Report 2019-06
Full Callout in Santee, CA
Jose “Raul” Martinez
19-20 March 2019

SDMRT Responders Operational Period 1: Richard Yocum, Brian White, Marshall Masser, Brian Cohen, Brett Stanley, David Brandt

SDMRT Responders Operational Period 2: Will Pisarello, Lee Tomatsu, Kelly Sloan

SDMRT ITC: Mark Kenny

Other responding organizations: San Diego County Sheriff’s Department SAR, including 2 dog teams, ASTREA air support, and local law enforcement. Estimate total of approx. 35 SAR personnel for Operational Period 1.

Short Summary:

  • Type of callout: Full
  • In-County: San Diego
  • Type of search: Search for missing person with medical issues
  • Environment: Urban/suburban, including parks and undeveloped riverbed
  • Location:
    • LKP leaving entrance to Edgemoor Hospital, 655 Park Center Drive, Santee, CA, 92017
    • CP at Town Center Comm. Park, 550 Park Center Drive, Santee, CA, 92017
    • Subject located at approx. 0950 hours during the 2nd operational period, on 3/20/19, in Imperial Beach, CA
  • Operational periods:
    • Earliest time of activity: Callout request at 2108 hours on 3/19/19
    • Operational Period 2 ended at 0953 hours 3/20/19
  • Information about the subject:
    • Number/names of subjects: 1 subject, Jose “Raul” Martinez
    • Age/Gender: 64-year-old man
    • Level of fitness and preparedness: Fitness level reportedly good, and able to walk long distances; seen to be wearing long pants and a jacket when he departed, probably suitable for the current weather; not known to be carrying any food, water, or money.
    • Mental status: Dementia, severity not reported
    • Injuries, if applicable: No prior injuries reported
    • How were they found: Subject’s location was reported by a citizen who saw social media announcement of missing subject
  • Any rescuers injured: None known
  • Aircraft used: ASTREA

Descriptive Report:

Santee deputies received a call of a missing person with dementia at about 1848 hours on 3/19/19, from Edgemoor Hospital, a skilled nursing facility for individuals with complex medical needs who require specialized interventions from highly trained staff and who would otherwise be a burden on the community. Hospital staff described the patient as a Hispanic male, English-speaking, Jose "Raul" Martinez (responds to “Raul”), 64 years old, 5’6”, 171 pounds, short black to grey hair, clean shaven, wearing a black jacket and blue jean pants. He was last seen at 1500 hours, and then noted missing at med check at 1745 hours. Initially the hospital staff believed Martinez left the facility at about 1700 hours. However, video surveillance showed Martinez walking out the front entrance at about 1411 hours (or 1511 hours, if the camera system had not been updated for Daylight Saving Time), on a mission westbound toward Riverwalk Drive. Although reported to have black shoes, the video showed white shoes. His medical problems included dementia (severity not reported), and oral medications for hypertension, schizophrenia, and diabetes mellitus, and was under a conservatorship. He had no phone, money, credit card, or transit pass. He had an arrest history in 2016, possibly for narcotics, but no further details were provided.

Sgt. Richard George managed the initial search. Local LE searched the facilities and premises. ASTREA made overhead PA announcements. There were reported sightings at Chik-fil-A in Santee and on Woodside Ave in Lakeside, but both of these were deemed not credible.

Operational Period 1

A full callout was put out at 2108 on 3/19/19 by Sgt. Richard George. The only initial clue was the video camera footage. Team 1 was dispatched to interview the Edgemoor staff. Team 2 was sent for a search of the facilities. A total of 15 teams were dispatched to the field to search the surrounding neighborhoods (see map), businesses, and parks, including 1 tracking dog team, 1 air-sniff dog team, 1 search area team, and the rest motorized teams. Because of a report that the nearby San Diego riverbed was occupied by numerous homeless encampments, teams were not sent to that area in the dark because of safety concerns.

The tracking dog was provided the missing subject’s electric shaver and purposefully led its team north on Park Center Dr, west on Mast Blvd, south on Cuyamaca St, and then turned west on Town Center Pkwy, where the dog appeared to promptly lose interest. No other clues were discovered. By prior decision, all teams returned from the field by 0200 hours on 3/20/19, at which time search efforts in the field were suspended for the night, until 0700 later that morning.

Operational Period 2

Sgt. Abutin restarted the search at 0700 hours on 3/20/19. A Santee detective was assigned to the case. Sheriff’s Media Relation put out social media information asking for information leading to Martinez’ location. ASTREA was called back to search and delivered PAs. Sheriff’s Media Relations sent Sgt. Duey a text stating a person responded to their social media post, giving the address to where Martinez was located. At about the same time, the detective working the case discovered Martinez had an extensive criminal history, including violence. Additionally, he was “recently” released from SDCJ. Sgt. Abutin worked with the captain of the Santee Station and they decided to discontinue the search effort du

e to an abundance of caution for the safety of SAR personnel. A short time later Martinez was located at the address given in the social media post, in Imperial Beach, CA, possibly in a hotel, approximately 26 miles away from Edgemoor. It was postulated that he had taken the San Diego Trolley. The Santee trolley station is very close to where the trailing dog lost interest, east of Cuyamaca St off Town Center Pkwy. The trolley had been “notified” early in Operational Period 1 to be on the lookout. Martinez was uninjured and was given a courtesy ride back to Edgemoor Hospital. The 10-22 cancellation was issued at 0953 hours.

Jose “Raul” Martinez

Lessons learned/suggestions for future operations:

  1. If there is a suggestion of a violent history for the missing subject, that background should be pursued as full as possible early in the search efforts, preferably before deploying non-LE personnel into the field.
  2. Fully employ all means of general public announcements and social media in the search efforts when appropriate, especially for urban searches. It would help SAR to become better informed regarding what exactly happens when the Sheriff issues social media, BOLO, reverse 911, etc.