Nancy Paulikas Reward Raised to $100,000
Oct 15, 2018 11:03PM
By Jeanne Fratello
Kirk Moody, Nancy Paulikas' husband, with an enlarged version of the flyer with Nancy's information.
Marking a sorrowful two-year anniversary since the disappearance of Manhattan Beach Alzheimer's patient Nancy Paulikas, her family has raised to $100,000 the reward for information leading to her whereabouts.
"We are hoping that by increasing the reward to $100,000, we may spur people to be even more vigilant, or we might get the attention of someone who has encountered Nancy," said her husband Kirk Moody.
Paulikas, who suffers from early-onset Alzheimer's disease and severe dementia at age 57, was last seen at Wilshire and Fairfax Boulevards following a family outing to LACMA on October 15, 2016.
In the two years since her disappearance, her family and friends have launched a massive and tireless search effort across Southern California and beyond. An army of volunteers posted flyers, canvassed the Wilshire corridor, placed stories in the media and paid advertisements, and kept in daily contact with hospital emergency rooms and homeless shelters.
Additionally, both LAPD and the Manhattan Beach Police Department have been involved and supportive in the search; a private investigator has worked on the case; state and county government officials have continued to lend their support; and Paulikas has been registered in the National Missing Person's Database (NAMUS Case MP# 35735).
Detective Mike Rosenberger of the Manhattan Beach Police Department, who has worked on the case, praised Moody and the squad of volunteers for their exhaustive efforts to track down Paulikas. "There's nothing that the police could have done that would have outdone what Kirk and his crew did," he said.
As the search continues, the team has evaluated several theories. According to Moody, given that Paulikas requires round-the-clock care, it is not reasonable to think that she could have survived in the homeless community for any length of time. For the same reason, it is similarly unlikely that a Good Samaritan would have cared for her for this length of time. Additionally, the police and coroner's offices have informed the team that it is highly unlikely that the remains of a deceased person would not have been discovered.
Of the two remaining theories - that she was transported out of state, or that she is in a nursing home or care facility under the wrong name - police believe the latter scenario is most likely.
To that end, volunteers have sent multiple mailings to more than 5,000 nursing homes and residential care facilities in Southern California, and the team continues to make personal visits to these sites.
Additionally, Medi-Cal has cooperated by looking for both Jane Does and for applicants that match Paulikas' general demographics, under the assumption that any care facility would apply for benefits. The police are continuing to visit the addresses of each of these applications (volunteers are unable to follow through with this step due to patient privacy laws).
Paulikas' father George Paulikas described how the search can be maddening, as he and his wife Joan would visit residential care facilities, leave a flyer, and then return months or weeks later to find that the flyer had disappeared. In many cases the staff members were new since the last visit, and had no knowledge of the case. "It's a constant challenge of refreshing information," he said.
Rosenberger added that the case has highlighted how difficult it can be to navigate the bureaucratic maze of health care and residential care facilities. "This case has caused folks to start saying, 'Hmmm - how can we do better?'"
One positive outcome of the story has been the increased attention to the problem of "critical missing persons" around Los Angeles County. Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn led a task force that created LA Found, a voluntary program offering trackable bracelets to individuals prone to wandering, administered by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.
"If these practices had existed two years ago, we might not need to be here today," said Moody. "We hope that these efforts can prevent any other family from having to go through what we have experienced."
Additionally, a documentary crew led by Thiago Dadalt is working on a documentary film called "Where is Nancy?" that he expects to have completed by January.
According to Moody, police continue to believe that Paulikas is most likely lost in the medical system and being cared for as a Jane Doe in a yet-to-be-identified nursing home or care facility. "Our efforts are redoubled and will continue until we find her," he said.
"We're not giving up - we're still just chugging away," added George Paulikas.
Anyone with information is asked to call Kirk Moody at 310-650-7965, or email NancyIsMissing@gmail.com. A blog is continually updated at www.nancyismissing.blogspot.com.