BVI News

Missing Alzheimer’s elder may have left in search of dead wife

Residents scour in and around Todman Peak, Tortola in search of missing 83-year-old, Walter Todman.

By Esther Durand, BVI News Staff

The missing Todman Peak senior citizen who has early-stage Alzheimer’s disease may have left his home in search of his late wife, family members say.

Eighty-three-year-old Walter Todman – a former bellhop at the Moorings – buried his wife on September 8 and went missing a week later.

Family members told BVI News the couple did not have children and had lived together on their family-owned estate up till Mrs Todman’s death.

“Some people seem to think that he may have missed her (his deceased wife) and he has gone off looking for her,” Gracie Hodge, Todman’s sister said.

“It is the first time he has done that. He usually walks around, but somebody would normally be with him.”

The Alzheimer’s disease widower left his abode in the rain a few hours after his caretaker left for the night, last Friday, September 14.

“He just isn’t thinking straight. I don’t even know what to think, I can’t imagine where he could have gone. He left no trace and it is frightening … I am just praying for his safe return,” Hodge added.

Hodge said she along with other family members started searching for the elderly man immediately after learning that he was not at home.

She said they drove in the immediate surrounding communities until 11 pm that night.

The search continued on Saturday and Sunday with the assistance of local police, the Virgin Islands Search & Rescue team, and other volunteers.

Persons with drones also came to assist in trying to locate the missing elder. However, with the dense bushes combined with the limited capabilities of the drones, spotting Todman in his green shirt and black jean pants has proven to be a difficult task.

BVI News captured this drone surveilling a section for Tortola for the missing senior citizen.

Meanwhile, Second District Representative Melvin ‘Mitch’ Turnbull was spotted among the search team.

“I’m here just as a friend of the family, not as district representative,” he told BVI News during unsuccessful Sunday’s search.

“Hopefully, he is ok. Hopefully, he is in good health, and, hopefully, we find him well and alive.”

Get familiar with Alzheimer’s

In light of the events, Turnbull is now urging persons to become familiar with the Alzheimer’s disease.

“It’s not something that we want to wish on somebody but it is something that is real. The more knowledge we have about it, the more that we could help persons, I think it will make the whole community better.”

Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease that affects the memory and other mental functions.

Todman is dark in complexion, has a white beard and has a slim build. He is about 5 feet 3 inches tall.

Persons who may have information on the whereabouts of the elder can contact the police at 311.

Copyright 2020 BVI News, Media Expressions Limited. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed.

11 Comments

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  1. Laura says:

    Wandering is one of the most dangerous behaviors associated with Alzheimer’s disease. An Alzheimer’s patient who wanders outside alone can easily become lost, confused, injured, and even die from exposure to harsh weather or other safety risks.

    Therefore a person with Alzheimer’s disease who is restless or has a tendency to wander should never be left alone.

    We’ve had alot of these cases in the last year or so, but are we as a populace educated enough tot handle our loved ones or those of others with this disease. Given its prevalence we should be doing more education and care wise too.

    Like 13
    Dislike 1
  2. Anonymous says:

    So sad please look he is some where around .
    MY mom have this sick I could tell you lots about it
    He was one of our good friend at the mooring continue the search my friends.

  3. The Truth says:

    Praying for his safe return.

  4. The Boss says:

    Praying for his safe return.

  5. To GOD says:

    Please help us to find him and find him in good condition. AMEN!!!

  6. CGB RESIDENT says:

    I pray he is safe this is so sad, Lord give his loved ones the strenghth and courage to hold up and stay strong till he is found in Jesus name

  7. USA says:

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    Like 5
    Dislike 2
  8. My God it’s not an easy thing to hear that your love one is missing I pray that he will be found him and in good health family keep the faith God is watching over him be of good courage says:

    Be of good courage friends

  9. Gumption. Official says:

    So sad to hear he’s still missing. We’ve had this issue before and will will keep having these issues. It’s time the BVI invest in special trained dogs. It have service dogs that’s build for this and would help us.

  10. Suggestion says:

    Can the Carriers send out a text Blast to everyone to let them know what is going and keep an eye out.

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