“He responds more to Dave than ‘David’,” said David Bradish, whose father ‘Dave’ Bradish has been missing from his Idyllwild home for more than a week.
Monday afternoon, Nov. 26, Dave, 80, left his home and has not been seen since then.
That afternoon, Dave and Linda, his wife of 58 years, were sitting on the front porch of their Idyllwild home. They had just moved here in late October. His son, David, and his wife, Jenni, had moved here at the end of the summer.
Linda had been working on the side of the house. She was cleaning a small pool and painting. As she went inside to do another errand, she asked what he wanted. “To spend a little time with you,” he said. “That may be the last time I spoke to him,” she said.
She was inside the house about 10 to 15 minutes. When she returned, Dave and his dog, Ginger, were not on the porch or in the yard. The wicker chairs were tucked under the table on the porch; so his family doubts that he left suddenly or in a rush.
In his brief time in Idyllwild, Dave had already found a familiar routine. He would walk from the house, near Alderwood and North Circle Drive, to the Community Presbyterian Church Thrift Shop. He might take a seat and watch the visitors.
His wife worried because Dave suffers from Alzheimer’s. She drove to the Thrift Shop, around IdyPark, the Post Office, to Pine Crest Avenue, then to Fern Valley corners and back home.
She visited all the usual places to which he might go. Unfortunately, Dave does not have a cell phone so she couldn’t call him.
“How could anyone disappear with a dog?” Linda asked. “It’s beyond belief. I thought I’d find him in the first hour!”
She didn’t see him anywhere. Her concern grew and she called his son, David, and his wife, Jenni. They also did a quick search. With no success, they contacted the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department and the Idyllwild Fire Department.
“Nothing makes any sense,” Jenni said about her father-in-law’s disappearance.
The Sheriff’s Department initiated a search, including helicopters, Monday afternoon. (See accompanying story about the formal search.) Unfortunately, the rain and light snow ended this search.
“It’s sad. We appreciate everything they did. We don’t feel they came up short,” David said. And Jenni added, “We feel they did everything within their capability.”
But Linda, David and Jenni are continuing. Family has come to help. David’s sister flew in from India and a cousin arrived from Denver.
Thirty-five years ago, David and Jenni met in Idyllwild. She lived here and attended Hemet High School. They have lived here off and on since marrying, and in the past year, made the move here permanent. He is still working, but aiming to retire.
With help from some of the people they know, a phone group was organized. It started in Jackie Kretsinger’s real estate office with eight or nine women. Now it has grown to nearly 100.
Each day, they contact every hospital, Alzheimer’s clinic, animal control unit and animal shelter in San Bernardino, Riverside, Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego counties.
Also, David and Jenni have created another flier with Dave’s photos and information. This has been distributed off the Hill. Phyllis Mueller has taken some to Banning, Palm Desert and Hemet.
“We’re in shock. I don’t know what to think. It doesn’t add up,” David said in despair. “I’m constantly brainstorming about how we missed something.”
He wondered if there were any other way to search or perhaps a different approach to examining the mysterious disappearance. He suggested anyone with an idea might call the sheriff’s station with the suggestion or post something on a Facebook page.
The sheriff’s canine crew did track Bradish and Ginger to Mountain Center. But the trail goes no further. “If somebody picked him up in a car, why are they afraid to mention that? We feel that he had to have gotten in sometime; otherwise, why would the scent have ended there?” Jenni said.
They even tried to walk Highway 74 to Hemet looking for him. But a friend saw them and told them that was not a safe action.
Linda agrees with the sheriff’s search team that Dave might have wandered into the forest. While he loved to walk and could do 5 miles or more in Huntington Beach, there the terrain is flat. He was less stable on the trails and uncomfortable walking on them, she added.
Dave loved Idyllwild. He loved being here and wanted to help his son build the new house. “We’ve been here many times. He was so happy here, seeing the mountains from the window,” Linda said.
Linda and Dave lived in Huntington Beach before coming to Idyllwild. Officials and the family have contacted the Huntington Beach police and the security at their former condominium to look for Dave.
And Linda and family are just astonished by the support and expression of concern from the local residents.
“I can’t believe the town is taking care of us. People have come by to keep me company, people I don’t know! It’s a different place, almost like Disneyland,” Linda said. “I’m overwhelmed with gratitude for the community.”
Anyone with any information into the whereabouts of Bradish is encouraged to contact the Hemet Sheriff’s Station at 951-791-3400 or after hours at 951-776-1099.