A man who went missing Wednesday morning is home safe with his family thanks to Los Angeles County’s L.A. Found program.
Aaron Chatham, a 44-year-old man with autism and developmental disabilities, wandered away from his caretaker at a medical facility in Pasadena this morning. Luckily, Chatham is enrolled in L.A. Found—a program launched last year by the County of Los Angeles which aims to locate people with autism, dementia, or Alzheimer’s who wander and go missing. The County provided Chatham’s caregivers with a Project Lifesaver trackable bracelet with a unique radio signal that can be picked up by LA County Sheriff’s Department receivers if the person goes missing.
After Chatham’s caretakers called the L.A. Found hotline to report a missing person at 10:00 am, five LA Sheriff’s ground units, including a Mental Evaluation Team (MET) were sent to the area where he was last seen. Deputies were preparing to activate the Project Lifesaver receiver but, thankfully, located him soon after arriving on scene. MET Deputy John Yateem located Chatham after recognizing him as an individual matching Chatham’s description wearing a Project Lifesaver bracelet. Shortly after, Deputy Yateem was able to reunite Chatham with his caretaker.
“Aaron is home safe because of L.A. Found and the quick action of our LA County Sheriff’s Department,” said LA County Supervisor Janice Hahn, who shepherded the creation of L.A. Found. “This program works. If you have loved one who suffers from Alzheimer’s, dementia, or autism, I encourage you to learn more about L.A. Found and see if a trackable bracelet is right for your family.”
“In Pasadena and across our county, L.A. Found is helping bring people with autism home quickly and safely,” said LA County Supervisor Kathryn Barger. “Thanks also to our LASD deputies, especially our MET teams, and civic partners for implementing this lifesaving resource for our communities.”
Aaron Chatham is the fourth person found with L.A. Found since the program launched in September 2018.
About L.A. Found
Wandering is a common problem associated with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and autism. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, 60% of people with dementia will wander at some point while a study by the Interactive Autism Network found that 49% of children with autism will engage in wandering behavior. While the vast majority of these individuals are recovered, wandering cases can end in tragedy. L.A. Found is a program established by the LA County Board of Supervisors in 2018 which aims to find people who wander quickly and reunite them with their families. To learn more about the program and apply for a free trackable bracelet, caregivers can visit LAFound.com.
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