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August 08, 2013
GROSSE POINTE FARMS — A man and wife living in the 200 block of Lakeshore didn’t think anything of it when they called home a couple of times while out of town on vacation last week and a man they didn’t know answered.

They never figured a 63-year-old Laotian immigrant, suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and missing from his Troy residence for nearly a month, had made their house his home.

“They attempted calling their residence Wednesday and Thursday (July 31 and Aug. 1), and a (stranger) answered their phone,” Reygaert said. “(They) thought they were just having an issue with their cell phone.”

Things started falling into place for the couple upon returning from a mid-week vacation late afternoon of Thursday, Aug. 1.

They found a strange pair of shoes in the main hallway and a shoeless man in the back yard.

“The homeowner brought the shoes out to the subject, who confirmed the shoes were his,” said Officer Paul Reygaert of the Grosse Pointe Farms Public Safety Department.

“He stated he was from Laos,” added Officer Matthew Hurner.

“He said the front door was pretty much open,” said Detective John Walko. “It was secure, but some doors open if you wriggle them.”

Officers searched the house and man.

“In the basement, a bed was made on a couch,” Reygaert said. “A tube of toothpaste from the bathroom on the second floor was located in his pants pocket.”

U.S. Border Patrol agents confirmed his identity and status “as a permanent resident alien,” police said.

Troy police said his family reported him missing July 3.

“They had no idea how (he) made it to Grosse Pointe Farms, but advised that he suffers from Alzheimer’s and sometimes wanders,” Hurner said.

No one’s sure how many houses, if any, the man tried to enter before succeeding on Lakeshore.

“He was a sweet old guy,” Walko said. “Even the complainants felt bad for him.”

The man is wanted in Warren on a misdemeanor traffic warrant.

The Farms couple isn’t pressing charges “due to his mental state,” according to police.

Walko has advice for residents who call home and a stranger answers.

“Get the cops there right away,” Walko said.

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