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Friends, family search for missing Phoenix woman with dementia

Roberta Braden, who goes by “Bobbie,” hasn’t been seen for five days, and family and volunteers are doing everything they can to find her.
Published: May. 6, 2022 at 6:50 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Dozens of volunteers have been scouring parts of Ahwatukee and South Phoenix for a missing woman who has dementia. Roberta Braden, who goes by “Bobbie,” hasn’t been seen for five days, and family and volunteers are doing everything they can to find her.

Multiple factors make this disappearance concerning. Not only her health condition, but the heat is reaching dangerous temperatures. She was last seen on top of a mountain with no idea which way she came down, if at all.

Family and friends have spent days coordinating search efforts for the 80-year-old. “She’s the world to me,” said her son, Justin Powell. “You get that second of excitement, and you go on a rollercoaster ride of, Oh, we found her!’ And it’s not her. And we’re back to square one. That’s probably one of the most difficult things.”

Bobbie was at Justin’s house near 32nd Street and Baseline Road when she went for a walk last Sunday evening — not unusual for her. Except for this time, she didn’t come back. When her family realized something was wrong, they began searching, but the only tangible sighting they’ve had is she made it to the top of South Mountain from Javelina Canyon Trail around 6:45 pm that same day.

Her mental condition complicates her disappearance. “She has been diagnosed with dementia,” said Justin. “She might not know where she is, doesn’t know how to get back or how to communicate with us, and doesn’t know how to ask for help because she doesn’t know that she’s lost.”

The community has jumped in to help with no hesitation; Justin said they’ve had nearly 100 volunteers helping search canvassing Ahwatukee and South Phoenix streets and neighborhoods, hanging up flyers, and making social media posts. Bobbie was last seen wearing a black and white dri-fit shirt, black shorts, and white golf cleats because their family had gone golfing earlier that day.

Because South Mountain has so many trails, she could have come down any of them, so Justin is hopeful his mom has a moment of clarity to ask for help or that somebody recognizes her soon. “I hope to God that she’ll know that so many people care about her and want to see her safe,” he said.

Justin is so thankful for those volunteering and is asking anyone in the community who wants to help with the search to contact him. There is a $5,000 reward for helping locate her.

Here is the contact information for Justin if you would like to help search or believe you have spotted Bobbie Braden:

To contact the family directly with information on Braden’s whereabouts, call (623) 295-9827, visit the Find Roberta Louise Braden Facebook page, or email findrobertabraden@gmail.com Anyone with information on her whereabouts is asked to contact the Phoenix Police Department Missing Persons Unit at 602-534-2121 or daniel.nonnemacher@phoenix.gov.