Remains Identified in Nancy Paulikas Missing Person Case
Dec 26, 2018 06:15PM
By Jeanne Fratello
Nancy Paulikas - photo via Kirk Moody
The family of missing Manhattan Beach resident Nancy Paulikas announced on Wednesday that the search has drawn to a close now that her remains have been identified. Investigators had found a skull in Fossil Ridge Park (Sherman Oaks) in April 2017 and then ribs in September 2018, and have now positively identified those as Nancy through DNA matching.
"I thank you for your interest in this story and wish it would have had a different ending," said her husband Kirk Moody in a brief email.
Paulikas, who suffered 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 had 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 had been involved and supportive in the search; a private investigator had worked on the case; state and county government officials lent their support; and Paulikas had been registered in the National Missing Person's Database.
In October, the reward for information leading to her whereabouts was raised to $100,000.
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 (including those with Alzheimer's, dementia, or autism), administered by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.
The LA Found program is notable around the country for the size of the operation - the largest of its kind in the country - covering 88 cities and 10 million people.
"If these practices had existed two years ago, we might not need to be here today," said Moody in October. "We hope that these efforts can prevent any other family from having to go through what we have experienced."