Lorne Hamer-Jackson, who had been missing since Saturday night, suddenly walked up to his Kamloops home on Tuesday night.
His sister, Loni Hamer-Jackson, and others were gathered at his Happyvale Avenue home just before 9 p.m., preparing to embark on another search — the living and dining rooms set up as their command centre, complete with mapping of the city — when Lorne returned.
We looked out the window and, all of a sudden, he was walking into the yard,” Loni said.
The family had been searching for three days and were growing concerned as Lorne has no wallet, cell phone, ID or money and less than a half tank of gas in his car.
Disoriented and dehydrated, Lorne was met with tearful hugs from relived family members and friends.
“We ran out and, obviously, we tackled him. We were all over him. It was so emotional,” Loni said.
Lorne appeared confused and not sure why everyone was there, she said.
“He was so disoriented,” she said. “He doesn’t know why he left, he doesn’t know where he actually went, he doesn’t remember leaving his vehicle. It’s still a mystery.”
Lorne, a Kamloops resident for 40 years, has mental-health issues for which he takes medication, Loni said, noting he has been struggling with depression and anxiety for a few years.
Lorne was last seen on Saturday night and reported missing on Sunday morning when he and his wife’s black Chevy Cobalt were nowhere to be found.
His wife noted he wasn’t making sense when she called to check in on him the night before and asked family members to visit him.
When he went missing, the family organized a massive search, scouring city streets and areas of the backcountry Lorne was known to frequent.
But he ended up being picked up by a Good Samaritan who was driving along Westsyde Road near the McClure Ferry. Loni said Lorne emerged from a ditch and waved the car down.
Lorne climbed into the passenger seat and it was apparent to the driver that he was confused and tired, Loni said, noting Lorne knew where he lived.
Not knowing he was the subject of the missing persons report, the driver dropped Lorne at his house and left. He later contacted the family upon seeing a news report regarding Lorne’s return.
The family is still trying to find the black Chevy Cobalt Lorne was believed to be driving when he disappeared.
Lorne is at Royal Inland Hospital, undergoing testing to determine why he became disorientated and wandered off.
Loni said the doctor overseeing Lorne at the hospital told her it’s unusual for a man his age to have been disorientated for that length of time, adding that the medication he takes probably wouldn’t have been responsible.
“But, you know, Lorne’s been reaching out for help with his anxiety and depression for a couple of years and the mental-health care in this city so far has really failed him and, in turn, failed the family in a sense because he hasn’t gotten the care he needs,” she said.
She said there needs to be more services in town for individuals dealing with these issues.
Looking back on a harrowing three days, Loni noted the positive outcome could have instead been terrible.
“Being so disorientated, he could have walked over a cliff. He could have fallen in the river,” she said.
“It was a very scary situation.”
Loni said she thanks the community for all their support during this ordeal.
“The outreach and the support and the care and the love and the prayers given from people we know and people we don’t even know is just overwhelming,” she said.
If you or anyone you know needs support for depression or suicide-related mental health problems, please call the Crisis Centre BC suicide hotline at 1-800-784-2433.
Some warning signs include suicidal thoughts, anger, recklessness, mood changes, anxiety, lack of purpose, helplessness and substance abuse.
Michael Potestio, Kamloops This Week