Detectives try to locate grandson of woman found dead in Mesa home


by Marie Saavedra and Jennifer Thomas

Posted on April 20, 2012 at 6:32 AM

Updated Saturday, Apr 21 at 9:09 PM

MESA, Ariz. -- Lola Pershall lived in her Mesa home the last few years of her life -- a life that ended sometime recently. On Wednesday, Maricopa County sheriff's deputies discovered the 88-year-old's body in her home in the stages of decomposition.

On Friday, the sheriff's office said detectives are looking for Pershall's grandson, who is considered a missing person. Reginald Gardner III, 43, was living with Pershall, but no one has had contact with him for an unknown amount of time.

Pershall's car was found in Houston last week. 3TV spoke exclusively with auto theft investigator Jim Woods with the Houston Police Department.

"As I'm heading toward downtown Houston, I picked up a Lo Jack signal on a reported stolen vehicle from Arizona," Woods said.

He found Pershall's car, which was missing from her home. It's a 2007 Mercedes Benz M class, in a champagne color, with an Idaho plate.

"I was able to locate the stolen vehicle parked on the side of the road in what's called Midtown Houston, out in front of a four-story apartment building," Woods said.

Detectives want to locate Gardner to confirm his safety and talk to him about the death of his grandmother. MCSO spokesman Sgt. Brandon Jones said Gardner is currently not considered a suspect in the death investigation. 

Gardner is described as a white male, 5 feet 10 inches tall, approximately 195 pounds with brown hair and blue eyes. Gardner is suffering from psoriasis, which causes flaking skin.

The public is asked not to attempt to contact or follow Gardner. 

The cause of Pershall's death has not been released, but police are investigating it as a homicide.

If anyone has information regarding the case, or knows the whereabouts of Gardner, contact the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office Crime stop number at 602-876-1011.