Missing Man Richard Parker
Law enforcement officials from Brown and Hill counties searched the area of the Mountain View Lodge and Marina at Lake Brownwood Wednesday after learning the pickup of a missing Hill County man had been found there.
Richard Parker, 76, has dementia and left his home on April 24 driving a 2004 Dodge Ram, Sheriff Bobby Grubbs said.
Parker’s pickup was found near an RV parking spot at the Mountain View facility on April 26, and the owners called a towing company on May 7 to have it towed, Grubbs said.
Someone with the the towing company, which Grubbs did not identify, contacted the Department of Public Safety Tuesday to have the license plate run, and the plate came back to the missing Hill County man, Grubbs said.
Parker has been the subject of a large search by law enforcement in Hill County, according to area newspaper and television news reports.
Grubbs said the sheriff’s office was notified around 3 p.m. Tuesday, and investigator Brian Lundy and DPS Sgt. Roy Parrack went later Tuesday to the area. Family members of the missing man began arriving Tuesday night, Grubbs said.
He said there was no record Parker had checked in at the Mountain View Lodge.
Grubbs said Wednesday morning his office was in the process of coordinating a search. By Wednesday afternoon, a command post had been established at the Mountain View facility. The search included the use of a Department of Public Safety helicopter, tracking dogs from the state prison unit in Gatesville, four-wheelers and boats and included several other agencies including the Texas Parks and Wildlife and Lake Patrol.
“At this point there doesn’t appear to be any sign of foul play in the vehicle that we can tell,” Grubbs said. “We’re hoping for the best outcome on this, but we’re prepared for the worst.
“Right now all we’ve got is the vehicle and a starting place. We’re hunting for the proverbial needle in a haystack. We’re trying to cover all the bases that we can cover. Right now we’re searching the shore line and boat docks.”
Grubbs said using the tracking dogs was “a long shot” because of the amount of time that has past since Parker’s truck was found.
“We’ll run the dogs and see where they go, if they’ll go anywhere,” Grubbs said.
He said Parker had not driven for about two years before he drove away away from his home the night of April 24.
In addition to suffering from dementia, Parker also is in need of medication for Type 2 diabetes, according to a flyer Grubbs’ office sent to the media.
Parker’s son, Richard Parker Jr., said the family doesn’t know what prompted his father to leave home that night. He said dementia suffers can experience fits of frustration, and he said his father might have also been affected by a new medicine had had started taking.
He said his father would have had no connection to Brown County other than having visited a campground here many years ago. He wondered if the memory of that visit might have prompted his father to drive here.
Parker was last seen wearing a short-sleeve plaid shirt, dark blue jeans, black tennis shoes and metal-framed glasses, and was also known to wear a ball cap, according to the flyer.
He is 6 feet 2 inches tall and weighs 190 pounds.
Parker had credit cards and a small amount of cash – possibly as much as $50 – when he left home, Grubbs said. There has been no activity on the credit cards, he said.
Parker lives in Aquilla, a town of less than 200 located 12 miles southwest of Hillsboro, according to Handbook of Texas Online.
Grubbs wasn’t sure Wednesday afternoon how long an active search for Parker will last.
“Everyone’s actually doing pretty good,” Richard Parker Jr. said. “Our best hope is that he got confused, found his way into a vacant residence and we find him healthy and safe.”
But Parker said with his father being missing for 18 days, the outcome could be different.