Search intensifies for missing woman with Alzheimer’s after new lead near Arizona Mills

TEMPE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) — Police and family are stepping up the search for a missing 80-year-old woman with Alzheimer’s after a credible sighting came in Monday morning near Arizona Mills in Tempe. Roberta Braden is a retired nurse who lives in Tempe. “Bobbie,”he has been missing for eight consecutive days.

But there’s a renewed sense of hope for brothers Derek and Justin Powell. “I haven’t felt this good in days. This is the most solid lead that we’ve had,”Justin.

The two have been heading up the volunteer search efforts for their mom, who left Justin’s house last Sunday to go on a walk after a day of golfing and never returned. She has Alzheimer’s, which has really complicated the search. “Her short-term memory resets from 20 seconds to three minutes,” said Derek.

But Monday brought a huge lead. Derek received a call at 8 a.m., from a driver for food delivery. He said he had spoken with their mom Sunday night. They believe it was her due to an inside joke phrase she used. This phrase would be used often by her sons. “She was at the Mcdonald’s drive-thru and said, ‘Justin stole my money and I need to eat,’”Derek recalled the phone call with his driver. “Just the phrasings that she used, that he reported to me, were just exactly what she would do.”

Because of that, they’ve changed the search area to around Arizona Mills mall, hoping more flyers with their contact information will draw more eyes. Because of her Alzheimer’s, Phoenix police said even though tips are coming in, there is an imperative action to take if you do think you come across her. “If you do see her, stick with her, keep an eye on her until we can get authorities there to vet whether she’s that missing person or not,” said Phoenix Police Sgt. Phil Krynsky.

Staying with her until police and family can get there is critical because her sons said she comes off as so confident you likely wouldn’t know she has a severe memory problem. Justin and Derek still feel hopeful, even though eight days have passed. “I hope we’re going to see her soon. It just feels like she’s so close right now. I can feel her presence here with us,”Justin.

Bobbie Braden left Justin’s house that day wearing a black and white dri-fit shirt, black shorts, and white golf cleats. Call 911 to report her sightings.

Here are some ways you can contact her family or help with your search efforts.

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