SDMRT 2020-20 Solana Beach

SDMRT Operations Report 2020-20
Full Callout, Search for Missing Person Uldarico Baquero, Solana Beach, San Diego, CA
31 August and 1 September 2020
Author: Richard Yocum

OP1 SDMRT Responders: Grayson Hough and Richard Yocum
OP1 SDMRT ITC: Hugo Bermudez

OP2 SDMRT Responders: Bill McNaul, Jeff Oxford, Zach Caldwell, and Frank Ortega
OP2 SDMRT ITC: Marshall Masser

Other Responding Organizations: SDSDSAR, SD County Sheriff Deputies. Approximate personnel included 43 SAR plus SD Sheriff personnel.

Short Summary:

  • Type of Callout: Full callout
  • In County or Mutual Aid: In-county
  • Type of search: Missing person at risk
  • Environment: Suburban with some open space
  • Location

o LKP: Subject’s residence at 669 So. Nardo Ave, Apt. T6, Solano Beach, CA (approx. 11S MS 75506 49592).

o Command Post: La Colonia Park, 715 Velley Ave, Solana Beach (11S MS 75831 49794).

o Found: Alive at Escondido bus station

  • Operational Period (2 operational periods)

o Searcher callout: Initial callout issued 2134 hours on 8/31/2020.

o Conclusion of operations: Search suspended on 9/1/2020.

  • Information about the Subject:

o Number/Name(s) of Subject(s): 1 subject

o Age/Gender: 77-year-old man

o Level of fitness and experience: Very slow walker

o Mental status: “Early” dementia

o Injuries: None known

o How were they found: Found by someone other than SAR at Escondido transit center

  • Injuries to Searchers: None reported
  • Aircraft used: ASTREA

Descriptive Report:

Uldarico Baquero is a 77 year-old (DOB 7/22/1943) Latino Columbian man reported missing 8/31/2020 at 1955 from his residence at 669 So. Nardo Ave, Apt. T6, Solana Beach, CA, by his daughter Maria Yvonne, with whom he lives. He has 4 daughters, 2 who live in Columbia and 2 who live in SD County. Maria and Ethel Vaela who lives in Spring Valley were both interviewed. He had been living in Spring Valley with Ethel during the COVID-19 shutdown, but moved to Solana Beach with Maria on 6/4/20 (about 3 months ago) because “the pandemic was over.” According to Maria, he is unhappy living with her because he wants to be independent but Maria maintains control over his finances and other aspects of his life. She last saw him when she left the residence at 0900 on 8/31 when she left to go to work. When she returned home from work he was gone, and she reported him missing to LE at 1955. He most likely has his wallet and about $22. He left the house key under the door mat. He has no phone. He left his prescription glasses home. He took his toothbrush and toothpaste and his pill organizer. Maria has his US resident card, California ID, and Columbia passport. He has no known access to any vehicle. Maria believes that he left with no intent of returning. Her best guess is that he headed “south” for downtown San Diego or trying to cross into Mexico. Initial search efforts by LE and ASTREA found no clues, and SAR was activated at 2134.

He speaks only Spanish and is 5’6”, 145 pounds, bald, with green eyes, last seen wearing black t‑shirt, grey shorts, black and green rain jacket hoodie, black baseball type cap with no logo, and black tennis shoes. He has a small sling-type green backpack. He is a very slow walker according to both sisters. Maria says he really should be using a walker. Both sisters report that he has a bad sense of direction and gets lost easily, even close to home. He has taken the bus in the past.

His medical problems consist of “early dementia,” diabetes mellitus, hypertension, and hyperlipidemia. Medications found at his residence were quetiapine fumarate (generic for Seroquel 25 mg twice daily PRN agitation, losartan-HCTZ (generic Hyzaar) 1 tab daily, losartan potassium 25 mg 2 tabs daily, lovastatin 20 mg at bedtime, Januvia 100 mg twice daily, Farxiga 5 mg every morning, and memantine HCl 10 mg at PM as directed. He is described as very charming. He would easily respond if encountered. He also responds to “Kiko.”

He is very fond of Mexico and talks about going there and back to Columbia. Maria says he also likes downtown San Diego. Maria reports that is usual local hangouts are La Colonia Park, the area of Denny’s restaurant and Speedway gas station with AM/PM and homeless camps in that area, the CVS on Lomas Santa Fe, and Rusty’s Mexican restaurant. He spoke to Maria about wanting to live as a homeless transient.

In the context of a dispute with his daughter about control of his life and when he requested LE not look for him if were to go missing, he was arrested under 5150 on 8/1/2020 for 72-hour observation and taken to Palomar Hospital but soon released. He told LE that he was unfamiliar with the area and does not know how to use the bus system and doesn’t know his home address. Maria added him to the “Take me Home” registry. He went missing once and was found sleeping in an unoccupied unit in the same complex as his residence. While initially reported to have gone missing more than once, no other occurrences were confirmed by family interviews.

With regard to safety, there is a gang in the area bounded by Stevens, Genevieve, Valley, and La Colonia Park. Also, it was the intent for LE to accompany teams visiting homeless camps.

With regard to ROW search, detectives checked all local hospitals and open urgent care facilities. BOLs were issued to Blue 1 and Missing Persons. NTS and NCTD were notified. Efforts were being made to notify Border Patrol of his possible intent to cross into Mexico. Twitter and Silver Alert were used.

OP1 Team 1 interviewed Maria in Spanish at the residence. She was sleeping when the team arrived. The RP interview form is filed in Mission Manager.

OP1 Team 2 hasty team searched all of La Colonia Park, with no clues.

OP1 Team 3 K9 trailing dog obtained two scent articles from the residence (pillowcase and white t‑shirt) and starting searching from there. The dog showed considerable interest and made quite number of loops around the complex and some in the surrounding neighborhoods, covering about 5 miles (see GPS tracks), but never established a direction of travel that took the team out of the area. The dog’s highest interest in the complex was at Units K3 to K5.

OP1 Team 4 K9 area dog and deputy searched along Via Del La Valle exit off I-5, moving north, with no clues. There was an area of heavy brush at the north end of search area (see area designed on search assignment map) that was too thick to enter and was not searched. No clues were found.

OP1 Team 5 ground team searched area south and around power station at Via De La Valle, and areas of I‑5 NB along ramp, east and west sides, with no clues.

OP1 Team 6 K9 area dog searched the complex in which the residence is located. The entire exterior of the Solana Highland Apartments. Two apartments were noted vacant: T4 locked, and A2 open and no one inside.

OP1 Team 7 motorized searched business areas, commercial parks, and strip malls along north end of Valley and Stevens north of park to Lomas Santa Fe, with no clues.

OP1 Team 8 motorized and ground searched the strip mall east of Stevens south of Lomas Santa Fe, with no clues.

OP1 Team 9 K9 area dog searched the area of Solana Beach train station and surrounds, with no clues.

OP1 Team 10 K9 area dog was to search the Flower Hill Mall and perimeter area, but this was cancelled and this search task reassigned to Teams 11 and 12.

OP1 Team 11 ground team searched the Von’s shopping center and surrounding business area, and bank complex across the street, Lomas Santa Fe east of I-5. This team along with 12 was then assigned to search the Flower Hill Mall and perimeter area. No clues were found.

OP1 Team 12 motorized searched the Albertson’s (Gelson’s) shopping center and surrounding businesses Via Del La Valle each of I-5. No clues were found. Suggested search of trail beginning at dead end of San Andreas Road that leads to the beach.

OP1 search was suspended at approx. 0400 hours, with no clues having been found. OP1 search was conducted entirely after dark. All local areas suggested by family interviews and all reasonably likely areas were searched with no clues found. There is clear expressed intent for him to not return to live with Maria, and possibly travel to Mexico or downtown San Diego. While he has the will, it is not clear that he has the means because of his lack of familiarity with public transit, poor sense of direction, and reportedly very slow ambulation. He would be unable to cross the border into Mexico without his documentation. However, his being in ROW remains a strong possibility.

No clues were found during the OP2 search on 9/1/2020. We were unable to establish a sighting or direction of travel.

OP2 Team 14 was assigned to search the apartment complex area, focusing on the grounds. Deputies went door-to-door and looked in vacant apartment and reported all vacant apartments were searched and are empty. They searched door-to-door and made contact with most residents. A second round of door-to-door by deputies in the afternoon caught additional residents at home. Our goal is to account for every apartment in the complex, either having searched vacant apartments or speaking to residents. At the end of OP2, about 10 units were still unaccounted. Deputies were to conduct another round of interviews at about 2000.

OP2 Team 15 was assigned to search the horse stable area of the Del Mar Fairgrounds. We followed up with a search of the practice track area and fairgrounds parking areas later. Security in the stables and practice track was found to be extremely tight. Everyone back there was badged and color coded and movements were carefully monitored.

We did not search the Santa Fe Christian School. It was learned that the school perimeter is secured with fencing and guards. We determined that Mr. Baquero could not have accessed the grounds after hours or during the day when staff and students are present.

We did a variety of searches during OP2, including motorized searches up north as far as into Cardiff and south into Del Mar and foot searches through any park, church, and school ground that was accessible. We also searched Dog Beach and the bluffs nearby.

ASTREA made announcements in the area of the search for about 20 minutes. Overall, the level of awareness and engagement by residents was high. Most that we encountered knew of Mr. Baquero’s status, primarily as a result of ASTREA announcements.

The subject’s daughter was highly engaged, returning to the CP multiple times and suggesting, recommending, or demanding that specific search assignments be made. These conversations were conducted with Sgt. Vengler and none led to any changes to our search strategy as most had already been covered. She remained convinced that her father had gone to downtown San Diego in an attempt to cross into Mexico.

The search was suspended. Investigation in ROW continued. Over the two OPs of this search, 43 SAR/SDMRT personnel were active, being sent out on 29 total assignments. Mr. Baquero found the day after the search suspension at the Escondido transit center. It was not reported how he travelled there.

Uldarico Baquero

Lessons Learned/Suggestions for Future Operations:

1. The RP interview form needs to be more complete.

2. Assigning a liaison to the subject’s family is often a good idea.