Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

What to do now to find my son?

My son who has schizophrenia and is refusing to take his medication . took off in his vehicle three nights ago after not sleeping for three days and not eating very delusional very paranoid and was heading to Washington DC with all his electronic all devices out of his home as proof that he’s been poisoned . We have notified state police, 911 ,we started petition to have him 302 which was denied believe it or not him and now we are at loss on what we can do . Washington DC is a huge city and we’re not even sure he’s there ,
so we don’t even know where or how to begin to find him. If anyone knows any any other resources I could contact please let me know feel so helpless thanks


Dear Rinda,

I am sorry you are going through this frightening situation.

You have taken the first steps listed here:

There are a couple more steps in the above link and this link has more extensive instructions:

From these links, it appears he needs to be registered as a missing person, which the police may or may not do automatically depending on where you live.

Maybe you could contact NAMI and speak with someone for more ideas and for support?

I hope you find your son very, very soon and that he is safe until then and after.


No advice, but I’ll keep your son and your family in my thoughts.

Please keep us updated - I think what you’re going through now is one of my biggest fears.


Thank you so much for this information! God bless


Thank you so much for this helpful information!


Still no word on his whereabouts:(


We are all praying for you and your son.


This is so frightening and I’m sorry that you are going through this. I’ll pray for him.

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I am praying right now for God to wrap his arms around your beautiful son and bring him home to you!


I’m praying the same thing with Momwithbeatutifulson on behalf of your son. Send angels to administer to his every need and surround him with love and light. Help him to feel Gods embrace. In Jesus’ name, Amen


I can’t even imagine how worried you must be…
I worry about my grandson driving back and forth to work - the thought of him not coming home scares me to death!

What about social media?
Does your son have a facebook account?
Maybe check to see if you can find anyone who does who lives in the DC area who can put the word out to look for him?

@Rinda I am so sorry to hear that your son is missing, I hope more than anything that he comes back safe and sound and you can get him the help he needs. This is so difficult and I understand how it feels. I have a story I would like to share for what it’s worth. When my son was 16 and before he was diagnosed (but was ill and using drugs) he had been ‘dating’ a girl that had worse mental and drug issues than he did in many ways especially given the fact that her father was a drug dealer and the entire family was well known to be of the criminal element by all of the local police, I tried everything to get him away from her and them…we moved and changed our phone number more than once and went to court mediation and took out complaints and restraining orders to try to keep them apart but because he was 16 the police really didn’t do much to help. He ended up in a drug half way house and from there he was abducted or willingly went with his girlfriend and her family and they took him to another state and left him with an elderly terminal relative…I am guessing that they wanted him to ‘take care’ of her or something, as she was dying of cancer…(I can’t make this stuff up it is so insane) Anyway, I was told by the half way house that “family” picked him up at my request --which was untrue and I reported to the police that my son was missing and likely abducted, and I at first, had absolutely no clue where he was or what had happened to him. I was beside myself with grief and worry. I confronted the family about his whereabouts and they insisted they knew nothing. I told the police I suspected them in his disappearance. I got no help at all. All I knew was as the time my son smoked Newports and would never go a day without cigarettes no matter what he had to do to get them. SO I made flyers with his picture and description and plastered them all over town and started sending them to 7-11’s and quick stop type places in Ohio and West Virginia (I am in Ohio) and sent out dozens of them with my phone number saying if you see this kid please call me collect…I stayed at this endeavor- daily…it took 6 months of this and then one day I got a collect call from a 7-11 in rural West Virginia (very rural) and they said they had just seen this kid in there buying Newports and they promised to get him on the phone to me the next time he came in the store…It was Christmas Eve and I got a collect call after 6 months of my son missing I heard his voice on the other end of the phone saying “Mom please come and get me, I don’t know where I am, I am lost” It took me almost 7 hours of driving straight through the night to get to him and I got him …he was emaciated and on some kind of drugs because this terminal woman had a bag full of oxy and other drugs and he had been with her for 6 months in a run down shack of a house–eventually I got the whole story from him–it took awhile and it was a horrific tale to hear…I am just so grateful he survived the ordeal. I am still afraid of this family even 16 years later…but ever since I got his guardianship, and we moved even farther away …we have not had any real issues since. My reason for telling you this story is just to say that if you know something for sure about your son --anything that he does ritualistically…it may help you find him, and try to never lose hope or stop asking for help and reaching out…I wish you success in finding your son and getting him the help that he needs.


Wow. What a horrible thing to have to go through.
Good thinking on your part about the Newports and the 7-11 stores! So glad he made it home okay.
Thank you for sharing - I’ll keep this in mind. Hopefully it will never happen, but it’s always good to have an emergency plan.
Than you. :rose:

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Thanks so much for sharing! That must have been the best Christmas ever.

Now, I’m wishing my son didn’t switch cigarette brands every other day.


I want to thank everyone for their concern and care for my son.He has been found in Washington DC. After many attempts of trying to get him committed as far as filing a petition which was denied because he was not suicidal or attempting to harm anyone we still cannot get help for our son.his truck was found in DC in front of the White House full of electronic devices. The Secret Service confiscated it and found him in a hotel. at that time they had contacted his wife and said they would do anything to get him the care that he needed however after talking to him for an hour and a half and him giving them permission to search his vehicle they were unable to get him the help he needed because he was not threatening to harm anyone . They then told him he needed to go home. He recently just called my daughter-in-law his wife and said that he was still in DC and did not plan on coming home un till he could find someone to believe him. I am so frustrated and upset with the system that we have, how can somebody who hasn’t slept for four nights has an ate for four days is completely delusional and paranoid be allowed to continue to be on the streets when is all we want to do is try to get him the help he needs but nobody will commit him or let us commit him. So I ask you please continue to pray for my son and I too will pray for your children and pray for this world and this mental health crisis that we’re in that somehow these people can get help before something drastic happens to them.God bless everyone


I’m so sorry - that helpless feeling is awful.

You’d think they’d at least took him to the hospital for an evaluation.


I can feel your frustration and I’m sorry you’re not able to get him home and get him the help he needs.
I can see though why they have the rule about determining if someone needs to be committed, or not. Otherwise it could be too easy for people to be committed that really shouldn’t be.

The first month my grandson was here, and I was desperately seeking help for him, a councilor at one of the local mental health centers told me the harsh reality is no one in the system is willing, or able to intervene until after the damage has been done - in other words, the patient either hurts himself, or someone else. When I left the building I got in my vehicle and cried for about 15 minutes - then I straightened up and said to myself, “Okay. What to do next?”

Thank goodness I was able to find a good therapist and get his meds straightened out and knock wood he is doing well at the moment.

it was SO frustrating that first month though, I’ll never forget how bad I felt that as hard as I tried, there was no one willing to help.

Sending good thoughts your way. Persistence and endurance are key, I’m learning.


I will say that my son was recently involuntarily treated even though he wasn’t threatening suicide or to hurt anyone else. However, he presented like an overdose, and he was barely able to communicate with anyone other than me. In front of anyone else, he would just mutter his delusional stuff to himself. There was no question that he was in the middle of psychosis.

He went to the hospital voluntarily, but then wanted to leave. They weren’t having it. It was late at night, so they called the doctor who was torn about it, so they called in someone from the “community board” - these are people with a medical background, probably mostly nurses, who will do a quick evaluation & then decide whether or not to do the court order for the hold. I’m sure they have to also get a magistrate or someone to sign off on it either online or over the phone.

But, they made it happen that night and kept him. I’m guessing it was because he was a danger to himself. Not that he would purposely kill himself, but that without close supervision, he certainly couldn’t take care of himself or protect himself from harm.

So, with the right person, and under the right conditions. it can happen.

This was also a psychiatric hospital - not the ER at a regular hospital.

At the ER, where they do have a psychiatric facility as well, one of the best in the area, he has talked his way out. They were going to hold him because he said he might harm someone else, until he explained he only meant he would have to in self defense. That shows how incompetent they are because I think most psychotic people only harm others in what they think is self defense at the time.

Anyway, don’t give up hope - where there’s a will, there’s a way. It just might be a long, hard road to get there.

And, while I don’t condone it, many people do recommend stretching the truth about the harm to self or others to get them some form of treatment. I’m big on maintaining trust, so I’ve got it tucked in the back of my mind just in case I need it, but I hope I never do.

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@slw it was definitely the most memorable Christmas for sure -today my son switches brands often…whatever he has coupons for or whatever is on special…

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I guess one of the most frustrating things are that his doctors said he needs long term committed. However because he missed his doctor app the day he took off the doctors couldn’t sign because they haven’t seen him in 30 days. If they would look at back 3 months they would be able to see how much he is spiraling downward due to not taking his meds. I will keep trying but most of all praying that God keeps him safe and leads him where he needs to go. Thanks again everyone. Your stories and compassion keep my heart warm and strong.