HONOLULU (KHON2) — It’s been almost three months since 76-year-old Milton Ishii went missing in Makakilo. His family said something like a “silver alert” system could have helped to find him early on.
“Once the word got out on social media, then a couple days after we were having people say, ‘Hey, I saw this guy yesterday…’ If [they] would have been made aware, then the day they would have seen him, it’s like hey, 911 right away,” said Ishii.
There’s not a day that goes by that Shane Ishii doesn’t still wonder where his dad is. Milton, who suffers from dementia, went missing just days before Thanksgiving.
Under a new proposal in the Hawaii legislature, in a case like Milton’s, a silver alert would have been issued.
“As our aging population gets older, this is a way to help. It will help families that have a kupuna that need help,” said Sen. Mike Gabbard, who introduced the proposal.
He said he wants to work with county police, the attorney general’s office and the media to further develop this program. He said it’s currently in 28 states, and he wants to bring it to Hawaii.
Similar to a Maile or Amber Alert, a silver alert would quickly send out a public notification letting the public know that a senior is missing and help is needed to find that person.
Only missing seniors whose health and safety is at risk would be considered for a silver alert. That includes seniors who have Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Police say last year, 102 people with Alzheimer’s or dementia were reported missing on Oahu. In cases like those, the public is alerted through Crimestoppers. The organization sends a release to the media, which then notifies the public.
“Usually with these people with medical conditions, time is of the essence,” said Sgt. Chris Kim with Crimestoppers. “So we want to hurry and put the information out there because a lot of times these people, they need medication.”
Sgt. Kim said after they send out a media alert, the missing are usually found within hours. However, this was not the case with Milton Ishii.
The Ishii family hopes that in the future, with a silver alert, families can be reunited faster.
“We’re keeping an eye out. We’re doing what we can. We go out every night and we look,” said Ishii.
“If it means that other people don’t have to go through this, that’s a big thing, because I know what we went through, and I don’t wish anyone else to go through it.”Shane Ishii, Milton Ishii’s son
There will be a public hearing for the silver alert bill on Friday.